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.