Forlorn Glory of Sirope

 

A little blue sign caught our curiosity. Half way between Rantepao and Makale, on a side path leading from a sharp steep bend in the main road, a half-withered sign promised a glimpse of forlorn glory.


After about 20 minutes of easy walking, the path splits into two narrower paths. The left one leads to Lemo, one of the major Obyek Wisata (tourist attractions), and the right one is signed to 'Sirope Stone Grave'. The location is well hidden from wanderers, a blue sign in the village close-by shows you where to go. Once you descend from the village, you pass through two huge rugged rocks in the midst of dense foliage, and discover a huge white-gray cliff with typical square burial holes in it.

 

There is something odd about this grave sight. On the left, there is a new patane (house grave) with a recently buried person in it. In the centre and bottom right, you find half-decayed old coffins, with bones and broken skulls sticking out of them. On top of one of the oldest coffins is a tiny photograph of a girl,

tenderly smiling, who apparently died at a young age. It is obvious that people are still working on this grave, piles of sand and stones are scattered around everywhere, but at the same time it looks deserted.
Looking up, I found the explanation for these thoughts.

In between the holes closed with wooden doors, there are oblong carved places meant for the tau-tau, the effigies of the dead. These places are empty, and should have been filled with the small puppets meant to represent the deceased. Normally, these tau-tau are the second puppet version made after the dead person has been buried, In Sirope, however, these tau-tau have disappeared.

 
 According to the locals, they were stolen about 8 years ago and were never replaced. We spoke to the guard, who then was in control of the place, and he still remembers that day with sadness. Sirope is located in a sparsely populated area, where thieves have a good chance of stealing unnoticed. In other places of interest, like in Lemo, exact copies have replaced the stolen effigies. Sirope, however, is still waiting...