Payakumbuh is situated around 125 Km northeast from Padang, the capital city of West Sumatra, and becomes the second largest city in West Sumatera. At Payakumbuh, you will find yourself in a charming town embraced by the beauty of nature. Surrounded by an array of valleys and lush green fields and set against the dramatic panorama of Mount Singgalang and Mount Malintang, Payakumbuh is truly the best place to refresh one’s mind, body and soul.
Payakumbuh is made up of 3 subdistricts, which is: West Payakumbuh, East Paykumbuh, and North Payakumbuh, and it also the capital of Limapuluh Kota Regency. The town serves as the eastern gate to West Sumatra and connects some major cities in West Sumatra with other provinces. Payakumbuh is also the economic hub and activity center of the Limapuluh Kota Regency as well as that of other nearby regencies including Tanah Datar, Agam, and Bukittinggi.
During Dutch colonial, this town had a significant part in Perang Padri or Padre War, that lasted from 1803 to 1821. The Dutch colonial government later built the city linked as one with the Nagari Aie Tabik settlements. For this purpose, in 1840 the Dutch built a stone bridge that connects Nagari Aie Tabik to the center of Payakumbuh. The bridge came to be known as Jembatan Ratapan Ibu or literally meaning the Bridge of Weeping Mothers. The name is said to have originated from a tragedy where the children of Payakumbuh were massaced by Dutch troops, thus leaving their mothers sobbing and crying.
Talking about the ancient heritages, Payakumbuh is marked with megalithic stones that found in various places within and around the town which date back to the pre-historic era.
It said that Payakumbuh is becomes the heart of the indigenous Minangkabau culture of West Sumatra, the town is also home to the traditional Randai that combines martial art, dance choreography, and music. The Randai performance is usually accompanied by the traditional sounds of the Talempong and the Saluang which produce distinctive Minangkabau tunes. Payakumbuh is known for flying duck races, foods like batiah, small sweet rice cookies; gelamai, a sweet coconut palm sugared snack; and rendang.