From Mysterious Tale of Sigale-gale to Unique Tombs of the Kings – SAMOSIR ISLAND

Finally!! After busy and tiring weeks, I have time to continue this writing.

From my hotel which is located in Prapat, It took about half an hour to reach the Samosir Island by boat. This island is located in the middle of the large Lake Toba. Many Tourist visited this island and chose hotels in Tuk Tuk area. This island is famous by the land of Batak people and some of them still holding into their traditions from generation to generation. I found mysterious yet unique in this island. So check this out :

1.Sigale-gale

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My first impression when I looked at this puppet was mysterious and creepy one. It had something that made me feel scared. So I searched about Sigale-gale and found out that this puppet is used in funeral ceremony. This wooden puppet is operated behind by marionette that using strings which are the same as veins in human body. This puppet wears traditional Batak clothes and perform when families don’t have children or when a child dies. Batak Toba believe souls become an ancestral spirit and the children of the deceased perform funerary rites.

There are legends behind Sigale-gale. The first version is about husband and wife that didn’t have a child. The husband was a paranormal and one day he found a wooden girl puppet in the forest. He transformed this girl puppet in a little girl whom he and his wife took care. They named her Nai Manggale. When the couple died, Nai danced beside their corpses. She felt sad that she couldn’t have child, so she made a puppet like her to be her child. And this tradition still happened to Batak people especially in Samosir Island when they don’t have child.

The second version is about a prince that died in war. His father couldn’t accept the reality and made a wooden puppet that looked alike his son. He named it Manggale like his son’s name. This puppet accompanied the king till his death. When the king died, the puppet danced by itself beside the king’s corpse.

The mystical thing about Sigale-gale is in the making process. Everyone who made this puppet must sacrifice their souls to this puppet, so that this puppet could move like human did. Batak people believed that everyone who made this puppet would die as a scapegoat. So to prevent that scary things happened, Batak people made the body part separately. One made head, one made hand, other made leg, etc. The puppet must be placed in coffin and it danced above the coffin.

History said that King Sidabutar could make Sigale-gale danced and cried by itself.  But in modern era, Sigale-gale becomes a tourist attraction in Samosir Island. Tourist will be amazed by the details of the movement like head waddle, eye twitching, etc.

2. Tombs of The Kings in Tomok

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The guide

Place that I visited next was The kings’ Tomb in Tomok. There is 128 villages in Samosir Island and Tomok is one of them. The word “ Tomok “ means fertile and healthy. There are 3 kings that had ruled in Tomok from 1544 – 1945. Batak people have tradition to prepare their own coffins before they die and it is made by stone. And if curious about this, you can just stroll around this island and you will find lots of empty coffins.

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The tomb of the first king

Before we entered the tomb area, we must put Ulos in our shoulder. So, I will begin telling about the three tombs. Long ago before religions came to this island, Batak people believed in Parmalin and they didn’t eat pig, dog, and food that weren’t sterilized. The first king tomb is made by stone. There is the king’s face that was chiseled in the front side. But we couldn’t see his face clearly because the tomb was quite old. It’s not only the king, but there is his grandson in his shoulder. The king believed that by putting his grandson in his shoulder, made the grandson had higher status than him. In this tomb, we could see cloth that was put above the coffin. The cloth was divided into 3 colors with different meanings in each of them. The first color was white which means eternity. The second color was which refers to our lives now. And the third color was black which meant the black world. They believed in karma “Where you go after life depends on what you do when you still alive”. They planted tree beside the tomb. But because trees growed larger and larger, people decided to cut the trees in this tombs area.

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The tomb of the second king, King Sidabutar

The second king named King Sidabutar has the most unique tomb. Same as the first king, There was the king’s face that was chiseled in the front side. On the top corner of this tomb, A woman named Malela was chiseled, The guide said that that woman was his first love was didn’t end in marriage. It was said that this woman was the most beautiful woman in this island that men tried to steal her heart. But this king was the winner and he made her his fiancé. He was so happy and felt like the luckiest man in this island. When the wedding day arrived, people came to see. But suddenly something weird happened, Malela suddenly didn’t want to marry the king and became crazy. She even removed her dress and run naked. No one knew to where she run until now. Later, they said that Malela went crazy because she cheated on the king and black magic made her became like that

The king was so sad and confused. He later married a woman and have children. But because he couldn’t forget his first love, he made her on the top corner of his tomb. He once said “Buah ketimun ditambah lada, hatiku rindu” which meant that he still couldn’t forget about Malela. His wife was also placed inside his tomb. We can see there was a man below the king’s face. He was his commander who came to this island to spread Islam religion. The guide said the commander’s name was Muhammad Said. He interested in learning supernatural power that King Sidabutar had, so he decided to stay and later became the king’s commander.

King Sidabutar was known with his supernatural power. And like I said before, he could make Sigale-gale danced and cried by itself!

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The tomb of the third king

Christianity started to spread in this island since the third king ruled. We could see that the third king tomb was different from the tombs before. There was no more face chiseled, no more 3 colors cloth, etc. The third king ruled till Indonesia became independent in 1945.

We can see from the tombs that religions came to this island long time ago and some of the tradition still remain the same. There are so many things in this world that make us wonder how can it be or how can people do that, every people have their own unique traditions. And I feel happy to be able to learn that.

I end this article with ….. HORAS!!!

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Lake Toba was formed by the eruption not the golden fish

HORAS!! ( what locals say when greeting in Medan)

My family and I went to Medan last week. It was four day trip and it’s the first time we went there. We took morning flight and arrived at Kualanamu Airport around 8.30 a.m.

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7.54 a.m view

We had lunch and rest for a while. Then we continued our journey to Prapat and it took about 4 hours to go there. It is two-way path and has sharp turns in this mountain area . From the top, we could see beautiful scenery of Lake Toba. Lake Toba is a very famous lake in Indonesia that was formed by the eruption of Mount Sinabung. This is a folktale about this lake, It’s about a farmer fell in love with golden fish that transformed into beautiful woman. He made a promise not to tell their son about this woman’s secret but he failed to keep that promised. This golden fish woman became angry and lots of water came out from the paddy fields and became Lake Toba. Until I was told about the history of Lake Toba, I still believed on that folktale and I felt a little bit stupid to believe that. I have a good imagination till now, so when people say it impossible, I will say ” Sure it can, why not?”

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So, let me tell you about how this lake was formed. It was about 75.000 years ago, when the Toba supervolcano  was surrounded by land. Toba volcano erupted violently and made land around volcano catapulted. The height of the eruption reached 50 km and make the temperature decreased 3 up to 5 degree celcius. Some sources said that the eruption damaged continents in the world. After the eruption, there was no weather, day and night was just same. The horrible fact is that this eruption killed more than half of the earth populations. It was a nightmare and I can’t imagine lots of people died in this lake. By the way, I wonder how many population in this earth when it was 75.000 years ago? Do you have any idea ?

Beside the horrible fact about this lake, there is the unique fact. The eruption formed a large lake but there is an island remained in the middle of this lake, Samosir Island. The Samosir Island survived in the middle of the land that catapulted and formed a lake. The fact is that water in this lake is collected from 75.000 years ago. Wow can you imagine that?!

I must say that this lake was absolutely beautiful. Especially when you look from the top, wow it was breathtaking and you must see it yourself. Locals said that many foreign tourists decided to live here after they saw how beautiful it is. And they said that President Jokowi (President of Indonesia) said that this was the largest and the most beautiful lake in Indonesia. I fell in love at the first sight with this lake. Local government cultivated various fishes in the other side of the lake.

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Morning view of Lake Toba (view from boat)

 

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Lake Toba view from Piso Piso Hill
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Waterfall from Piso Piso Hill

If you don’t have any plan for your next holiday, visiting Lake Toba can be a choice. You won’t be disappointed. If you want to look for the best scenery, you can go to Piso Piso Hill you can see Lake Toba and waterfall on the other side from the top. You can also enjoy the view from close by taking boat to Samosir Island. Talking about Samosir Island, my next article will tell about the unique kings’ tomb in Samosir Island, The heritage culture, Sigale-gale, etc. I’m going to write super fast and publish the article soon.

Menjelajahi Lantau Island – HONGKONG

Pada hari kedua setelah menginjakan kaki di Hongkong, kami sekeluarga memutuskan untuk pergi ke Lantau Island. Dari hotel kami yang terletak di Causeway Bay, kami berjalan menuju stasiun MTR. Lalu mengambil jalur menuju stasiun MTR Central dan dilanjutkan dengan menganti jalur MTR menuju stasiun MTR Tung Chung.

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Suasana di dalam MTR menuju stasiun Tung Chung

Dari stasiun MTR Tung Chung kami berjalan menuju cable car.  Tiket untuk naik cable car pergi dan pulang  HK$ 185 (sekitar 333 rb). Kami sempat ditawari jasa tur keliling Lantau Island, tapi kami memutuskan untuk mengikuti rute-rute yang sudah kami rencanakan.

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Loket pembelian karcis cable car

Kami pun naik cable car setelah cukup lama mengantri. Bulan Desember suhu sangat dingin yaitu bias mencapai 8 derajat celcius dan kami pun mengigil kedinginan. Semakin naik keatas, angin bertiup semakin kencang.Walaupun kami sudah memakai tiga lapis pakaian pun tetap meraa dingin. Pemandangan dari cable car sangat keren. Bagi kalian hiker sejati, tempat ini sangat cocok untuk hiking. Saya pun berniat untuk datang kesini lagi pada musim panas dan berencana untuk hiking. Kami naik cukup tinggi hingga kami sampai di Ngong Ping Village. Perjalanan cable car ini memakan waktu sekitar 20 menit.

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Pemandangan dari cable car

Bagitu sampai di Ngong Ping Village Suasana natal sangat terasa disini, karena semua bangunan dihias dengan hiasan natal. Disini terdapat toko souvenir yang unik-unik, restoran dan dll. Ngong Ping Village memiliki tema Hello Kitty sehingga banyak patung-patung Hello Kitty yang bisa kita jumpai disini.

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Hello Kitty Christmas edition
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Ngong Ping Village, dari sini kita dapat melihat Tian Tan Buddha
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Stage 360 (pertunjukan  silat)
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Lucu yaaa kucingnya :3

Setelah Ngong Ping Village, kami berjalan menuju Tian Tan Buddha. Kira-kira memakan waktu 30 menit dari Ngong Ping Village untuk sampai di bawah tangga The Giant Buddha. Terdapat 268 tangga menuju keatas. Tian Tan Buddha ini memiliki tinggi 34 meter dan memiliki berat 250 ton, wah kebayang kan sebesar apa. Setelah sampai diatas, kami melihat-lihat sambil berfoto-foto. Tempat ini selalu penuh dengan turis-turis mancanegara, maka kalian harus bersabar untuk berfoto di depan Tian Tan Buddha ini. Dari artikel yang saya baca, banyak tokoh terkenal yang menjadi donatur pembangunan Tian Tan Buddha yang katanya membutuhkan waktu 12 tahun untuk membuatnya.

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268 tangga menuju Tian Tan Buddha

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Setelah menuruni tangga dari Tian Tan Buddha, kami berjalan menunggu Po Lin Monastery. Po Lin Monastery ini sangat indah dan megah dengan pepohonan yang rindang di sekitar Monastery. Karena sudah waktunya makan siang, kami pun pergi ke Kantin dan membeli makanan. Makanan yang dijual disini semuanya vegetarian, kami membeli bihun goreng, kembang tahu dan kue- kue kecil. Makanan disini termasuk murah loh! Dengan harga bihun goreng hanya HK$ 10 (sekitar 18 rb) dan kue seharga HK$ 5 (sekitar 9 rb). Setelah perut ini sudah kenyang, kami sembahyang di Po Lin Monastery.

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Po Lin Monastery

 

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Ada tempat yang saya bikin saya penasaran dan ingin sekali saya kunjungi , yaitu The Wisdom Path. The Wisdom path adalah tempat dimana terdapat Sutra Buddha yang ditulis di Pohon-pohon yang kalau dilihat dari atas akan membentuk bentuk infinity. Tanpa menunda-nunda waktu, kami pun mulai masuk hutan menuju The Wisdom Path. Saya sangat menyukai suasana disini, begitu hijau dan bersih. Kami pun tak lupa untuk mengabadikan kenangan ini dalam foto.

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Masuk ke hutan menuju The Wisdom Path

Kira-kira membutuhkan waktu 30 menit berjalan untuk sampai ke Wisdom Path. Ternyata The Wisdom Path sekeren yang saya lihat di buku. Kami pun berjalan mengelilingi bentuk infinity. Jika kalian suka hiking, tepat di sebelah The Wisdom Path ini merupakan garis start jalur hiking. Kami ingin sekali tapi sayangnya ini musim dingin dan kami tidak ingin sakit flu karena hiking.

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The Wisdom Path, bila dilihat dari atas akan berbentuk infinity
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Ukiran Sutra Buddha dalam kayu-kayu yang berurutan
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Garis start untuk hiking

Kami pun duduk menikmati pemandangan disini, menikmati udara yang dingin dengan sinar matahari yang bersinar menghangatkan tubuh. Kalau dipikir-pikir mengenai moment itu saya rasanya pingin balik lagi kesana:( Setelah itu, kami pun kembali ke Ngong Ping Village dan Pulang menaiki cable care. Kami melanjutkan perjalanan ke Hollywood Road.

 

 

 

 

Tai Fu Tai Mansion – HONGKONG

Pada bulan Desember 2015 lalu, Saya sekeluarga memutuskan untuk jalan-jalan dengan rute Hongkong – Malaka – Singapore. Namun yang beda kali ini adalah kami tidak memakai jasa tur melainkan pergi sendiri. Terinspisari dari buku “ The Naked Traveler ” kami pun merencanakan perjalanan dan memilih tempat-tempat yang akan dikunjungi.

Selama perjalanan di Hongkong selama 7 hari, ada hal-hal yang tak terlupakan. Nah, salah satunya ini nih!

Jadi waktu itu kami memutuskan untuk pergi ke daerah pinggiran Hongkong dan memutuskan untuk mengunjungi Tai Fu Tai Mansion. Kami menginap di Hotel Regal di Causeway Bay, dimana katanya daerah itu memang ga pernah sepi. Kami mulai naik MTR dari Stasiun Causeway Bay sampai Stasuin Sheng Hui. Perjalanan kami lumayan lama dan kami harus ganti MTR sebanyak 3 kali. Pemandangan dari MTR selalu sama, yaitu apartemen apartemen dan apartemen. Karena lahan di Hongkong mahal, banyak orang memilih untuk tinggal di apartemen yang ukurannya pun sempit-sempit.

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Peta MTR di Hongkong. Kami memulai perjalanan dari Stasiun Causeway Bay sampai Stasiun Sheng Hui.

Begitu kami sampai di Sheng Hui, kami harus menyebrang dari stasiun dan mengambil bus 76K. Memang suasanan di San Tin ini terasa begitu damai dibanding dengan Causeway Bay yang terkenal dengan daerah metropolitan. Disini banyak orang tua yang bersepeda dan kami melewati beberapa sekolah di sana. Bus di Hongkong umumnya bertingkat dua, sehingga sering kali kami duduk di tingkat atas dan menikmati pemandangan dari atas.

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Pemandangan saat kami turun dari bus 76K.

Di buku panduan, kami harus berhenti di San tin dan menemukan kantor pos lalu berjalan mengikuti petunjuk jalan yang ada. Kami turun di halte terkahir dan kami seperti berada di pedesaan dimana kami dikelilingi pepohonan rindang. Angin yang sangat sejuk ditambah suasana yang seperti ini, mengingatnya saya pada saat live in di Yogyakarta dulu. Lalu kami berusaha menemukan kantor pos lalu berjalan menuju Tai Fu Tai Mansion. Sebenarnya kami cukup kaget karena kami pikir Tai Fu Tai Mansion ramai pengunjung, namun fakta nya tidak ada seorang pun yang di dalam selain petugas. Tadinya kami pikir kami salah tempat, tapi kami langsung tahu ini benar karena petugasnya menghampiri kami.

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Tai Fu Tai Mansion

Petugas mansion ini begitu friendly . Dia menjelaskan panjang lembar mengenai sejarah rumah ini. Pemilik rumah ini adalah Man Chung Luen, seorang pedagang kaya di abad ke-18. Uniknya rumah ini memiliki ornamen-ornamen yang sangat detail. Konon dulu seorang pria bisa memiliki banyak istri, Sehingga sisi kiri dan kanan rumah ditinggali oleh istri yang berbeda dengan anak laki-laki tidur dibawah dan perempuan diatas. Dapurnya pun sangat tradisional, masih terbuat dari tanah liat. Kamar pembantu berada di bagian samping rumah berdekatan dengan dapur. Rumah ini memiliki sederatan kamar mandi di bagian kanan rumah ini.

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Kamar yang ditempati anak-anak lelaki
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Tampak rumah begitu masuk Tai Fu Tai Mansion
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Bagian rumah ini untuk menampung air hujan. Di sisi kiri atas terdapat patung ikan untuk menyalurkan air hujan ke tempat ini.
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Melihat proses renovasi Mansion mulai dari perbaikan-perbaikan kecil dan mengecat kembali sesuai warna aslinya

Setelah puas melihat-lihat, kami diajak ke halaman depan. Mansion ini memiliki halaman yang cukup luas. Petugas menyuruh kami untuk melihat patung-patung yang berada di atas tembok luar mansion. Ada sesuatu yang unik, yaitu patung-patung orang yang berada diatas sana hamper semuanya tidak memiliki kepala. Petugas pun menjelaskan bahwa ternyata zaman dulu anak-anak suka iseng, mereka suka lempar batu dengan sasaran kepala patung-patung itu.

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Walaupun kurang begitu jelas, namun kita bisa menemukan ada banyak patung tanpa kepala akibat ulah anak-anak yang iseng.

Kami pun diajak ke ruangan remang-remang yang dulunya merupakan kandang hewan-hewan. Dulu orang-orang kaya memiliki kandang untuk memelihara ayam, babi, dll yang nantinya akan dipotong dan dihidangkan. Terdapat tempat untuk memotong hewan di sisi lain dari kandang ini.Saya tidak tahan berada di kandang ini karena saya merasakan sesuatu yang tidak enak dan udaranya pun sangat lembab.

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Suasana di kandang hewan

Selama di Hongkong, saya selalu melihat orang-orang dengan wajah yang datar dan hemat senyum. Namun petugas mansion ini sangat baik dan juga senyum, Bahasa inggrisnya pun lumayan bagus. Kami sempat berkenalan namun saya lupa namanya. Jujur saja, saya kasihan melihat dia harus menjaga Mansion ini seharian dengan keadaan yang sepi di dalam bangunan yang tua. Kalau saya jadi dia, pasti saya sudah tidak tahan karena saya sangat penakut. Pak petugas bilang kalau dia menyukai pekerjaan ini karena bisa menjelaskan hal-hal mengenai mansion ini kepada orang-orang dan juga dapat berkenalan dengan orang-orang baru. JIA YOU pak petugas!!

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Foto bersama dulu sama Pak Petugas (paling kiri) 🙂

Mengunjungi Tai Fu Tai mansion ini adalah pilihan yang tepat. Selain dapat merasakan damainya suasana pedesaan, kami juga belajar tentang sesuatu yang baru dan menarik. Menurut kami itulah arti sesungguhnya dari traveling.

TAI FU TAI MANSION : MISSION COMPLETED