Impressive megalithic graves
Published/Last edited or updated: 23rd November, 2016
As you twist and turn through the hills and paddies south of Waikabubak, not far from the village of Wanokaka, the traditional villages Waigalli and Praigolil exhibit monumental megalith headstones which have become symbols of the area, and indeed of Sumba.
Fourteen kilometres south of Waikabubak, the small peak behind Rudy Backpacker is home to Waigalli (Weigalli) village. The local legend tells that this village was built by Ubu Palabang, the first inhabitant of Sumba, said to be responsible for implementing many traditional ceremonies still observed today, including the Pasola.
Of the handful of interesting tombs here, the one of particular interest to tourists is the large rectangular headstone which has been incorporated into the logo of local NGO, The Sumba Foundation, associated with Nihiwatu Resort. As soon as we arrived in this village, we were surrounded by a group of women selling mini replicas of this stone — the potential of its interest to tourists is not lost on the locals.
Three kilometres further south, in Praigolil village, stands the Watu Kajiwa stone, Sumba’s “fleur-de-lys”. Fine detailed carvings adorn the unusually shaped gravestone. Several interpretations of its meaning have been offered, including that the figure at the top is emerging from a symbolic womb — a rebirth into Marapu heaven. Word is that this tomb conceals gold heirlooms that were hidden from Portuguese raiders prior to the owner’s death.
Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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