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Bada Valley Natural Sights and Megalithic Mystery Valley Central Sulawesi

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Bada valley frontMany tourists want a different experience for their holiday. Maybe they want to enjoy unique landscape which is totally different from the touristic centers they found in town. So, visiting wilderness in remote areas can be the best choice to go for.

Central Sulawesi offers Bada valley. This valley belongs to Lore Lindu National Park. Administratively, this valley is included into South Lore sub district which is centered in Gintu Village, lies west of the town of Tentena. At first sight, you will catch the landscape of Lariang River and green hills surround the valley. The river has strong current that many rafters challenge themselves to raft against the wild current.

Bada valley can be assumed as a historical site as well because ancient stones from megalithic period are spreading in front of your sight. Moreover, many human like statues are found on the site, those statues are highly and carefully carved. But it will be impossible for you to get details about those statues because all information about the statues remains a mystery.

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Bada villages are Dutch missionary heritages. Once upon a time, those villages were ruled under a king appointed by the Dutch government. The king was named Biti Magau Itampo Bada. However, the kingdom administration ended in the middle of 20th century.

The native of this region is Lore Tribe, but there are other native tribes living in Central Sulawesi. They are hospital people that always welcome the visitors with open hands. Looking closer to its local inhabitants’ life, most of them work on their farms. Rice and chocolates are the major commodities of this region.

The Bada Valley is world famous for its prehistoric relics from an ancient megalithic culture. Dozens of finely carved megaliths dating between 1,000 – 5,000 years old are scattered across the valley. A mysterious, yet magnificent testament to the skill and genius of a civilization that we know absolutely nothing about. The most common response from the area’s inhabitants when asked about the origin of these statues is that “they’ve always been there.” The locals have various explanations for the meaning of these statues. Some believe they were used in ancestral worship or may have had something to do with human sacrifice. Others believe that these statues ward off evil spirits. One legend tells that they are criminals which were turned to stone, and there is even a superstition that the statues can disappear or move from place to place. Some have even been reported found in slightly different locations. Yet another curious aspect about these statues is that they are made from a type of stone not found anywhere near the area, so there would need to have been a mighty good reason to haul these huge, heavy stones off into the middle of nowhere.

Peacefulness seems to be the main thing Bada Valley tries to present. The beautiful harmony established between its local inhabitants with the nature produces another harmonic ecosystem. The ecosystem is well managed and this can be the reason why many tourists expect to come back for more. To reach Bada valley, you should endure four hour land trip, but you should seriously careful since the road is in poor conditions and there is risk of erosive ground along the way. Maybe taking a local guide who has a sufficient knowledge about the area with you can help you to know the dangerous spots in order for safer trip.  Indeed, your body should be in a good stamina and well-prepared as well as the vehicles you use.

The megaliths in Bada Valley draw a handful of tourists and archeologists. The fierce terrain forms and impressive background for the stone pieces of art. Eroded rows of hills and low mountains at a distance of two kilometers complete the raw gracefulness of the statues. In 1984, the government asked the people in the Bada valley to build a giant wooden house besides Palindo, as well as a vaguely traditional building behind that. They don't serve a clear purpose. The final blow to the statue is a system of paths around the statue, complete with flat, square stones. There is also a rice shed with a damaged platform under a raised storage. The purpose of the shed is not known, but you can sit down in the shadow and watch the statue from behind.

The term of “megalithic” is used to describe structures that were built with large stones, and without the use of mortar or cement. It also denotes items that were hewn from stone into a definite shape for a definite purpose. The word megalith originates from the ancient Greek word mega, meaning great, and lithos, meaning stone.

Researchers and philosophers have long analysed the significance of stones, yet with or without understanding, their work never ceases to fascinate. Megalithic art has been said to represent eternity that lives beyond the notion of time, massive, yet unpretentious, unchanged, unmoved, timeless, through centuries, lay millenia of sun, sands and storms. Silent witnesses to the past. Secrets masked behind a timeless expression whispered only to those who pause to listen.

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Here some megaliths can be found around the valley :

Palindo (The Entertainer), 4.5m.
The largest statue in the area and the most celebrated, it is situated south of the tiny village of Sepe. It is perhaps a representation of Sepe's first mythological inhabitant, Tosaloge. A local legend tells of the Raja of Luwu, who once ordered 1800 of his subjects to move the statue from Sepe to Palopo (a very long way to the south) to prove his dominance over Bada, but the effort failed. The statue was said to originally face Luwu in the south, but the Bada people turned it to face the west as a snub to the Raja, and when the Raja's followers tried to turn it back, it fell onto its side, killing 200 of them. In the past, offerings were brought to this figure before embarking on any new enterprise, such as opening up a new garden. Whatever the legends, it's a wonderfully atmospheric sight.

Maturu (Sleeping), 3.5m.
This statue lies on its back, and has good features, like a reclining Palindo. As with its bigger brother, it's a male; the erect genitals on both are a bit of a giveaway.

Mesinga (Wearing a Scarf).
Actually, this looked more like a little penis and I didn't even waste a photograph on it. The features are very faded and if it wasn't in the Bada Valley, you'd think it was just a rock. It's only just up the path from the Kalamba, which are far more interesting.

Vast stone cisterns, dotted all over the place, which may have been used as baths, or burial chambers for aristocrats. Some are better than others.

Oba (Monkey).
This was the one that the old man took us to, and it's a real cutie. Only as high as a squatting man, its features are amusingly monkey-like and cheeky. It's right in the middle of a paddy field.

Langke Bulawa.
The statue is about 1.65 m in height. As other ancient statues in Bada Valley, Langke Bulawa is protected. It is located next to the locals cocoa field.


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