Monday, June 01, 2015

Exploration to Batu Nabau, Snake Stone Valley at Engkilili, Borneo

Unwritten history about Engkilili




Engkilili town is 156.1 kilometres east-south-east of the state capital Kuching, my friend had shown me a picture of a stone in a cylinder shape, and have some yellow stripes on the rocks (in the end they told me is was the locals who colored it). On one end of the stone, the shape looks like the snake head. The locals people called it the Batu Nabau, the Chinese called it the Spirit Snake valley.

The word Engkilili belongs to a name of a tree which grows there, the tress glow along the river. The Engkilili trees are mostly discovered in the Engkilili, and Lubok Antu area. So with this special gift, the people just name the town to be the same as the tree. The river plays an important roles back in the old day as the only source to connect to other small towns in Sarawak. 

Another name for Engkilili for old generation of Chinese is called "上梯頭", means "up the staircase" there are such name is because back in the old days, The coal miner (Chinese, Hakka dialet) workers from Kalimantan, Indonesia traveling via river to the Engkilili town to work and settle down, they build staircase to go up the wharf, this is to let the trader and worker to easily unload their stuff. 

And later the Chinese (Teo Chew dialet) traders came for business. And will always said they need to go "up the staircase" to unload their stock. So that is why its called "up the staircase", and later the locals had build another new wharf, therefore the name "up the staircase, down the staircase" (下梯頭) was born.

How to get there?

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  • First, go to the Engkilili town, there is a welcome signboard on your left. Then, there are new shops lot upon entering the town. You will see a Chinese temple on your left.
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  • Then, drive into the town again, and you will see the old wooden shoplots which runs by the Chinese there.
  • After that, turn to your right, and drive all the way in, you will see an arch which will lead you to the Malay village.
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  • Continue to drive in again, and you will reach the end of the tar road, and continue with the stone, and dirt road.
  • Drive all the way in for about 15 mins, and you will see a nice concrete bridge. This is the Bukong Nyalau village, there is a longhouse near the bridge.
  • You may park your car beside the house just before the bridge. The house belongs to a friendly Iban people. then ask for direction.
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  • Its easy to search, upon entering the jungle, the local puts up a signboard at the entrance there, to remind visitor what to avoid when at the snake stone area. So please respect the rules there.

Stories about the Snake Stone (Batu Nabau)

According to the information I had, the "snake" measure at around nine meter in length and two meter in diameter. There are a few version regarding the snake stone, the Chinese, Malay, and Iban people each have different version.
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The tale which told to me by a Chinese:
The giant snakes are from Limbang, but only 6 of them reached Engkilili, the biggest one is the female, and the fierce one is the male snake which still stays in Limbang.
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The female snake after reach Engkilili, it wanted to craw into the hole, but its too small for it to go in, that is why it just stay outside.
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Not long after that, she lays a few eggs, and some small snakes was born, thus can see a few smaller snake stone beside the big one.

Another tale which I found goes like this:
The tale regarding Batu Nabau resurfaces after a Siamese man from Kuala Lumpur made a claim on the existence of a huge snake that turned into stone as he doubled his efforts to locate it.

With the assistance of the local residents in the Sri Aman District, he located Batu Nabau as dreamt. Together with the local residents, he painted the boulder and cleared the areas around it.

The man’s tale was published in the local newspaper.The tale did not end there as Jawi-like alphabets were said to have been found in the central portion of Batu Nabau. The alleged Jawi alphabets of alif, lam, nun, mim and sinwere said to have been arranged in a reverse order and separated from one another.

The discovery was made by one of the local residents who had visited the area after reading an article about Batu Nabau in the local newspaper.

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What Else to see after the Stone Snake?

After I visit the stone snake, I drive back to the wooden shop again. And visited the suspension bridge which connect the village opposite the river to the town. Its very windy while standing in the middle of the bridge.

Oh... I forgot to tell you, Engkilili also have big ass rat, just look at this cage!!!
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