A neglected historical hill

Close to Waingapu, the main city of East Sumba, Indonesia, there was a hill that had lots of history. The hill was stood looming the airport area; that was why everybody in a plane departing from or approaching the airport could see the hill clearly when they looked to the west. The hill’s name was Mau Hau Hill, thus the airport was named after the hill’s name before changed into its recent name in 2009.

According to people I met, Mau Hau means a place of residence for Sabu people who once were asked to help King Lewakambera of Sumba. So . . it seemed that the area was once been granted to the Sabu people as a reward for their support to the king, or it could be just the place for their encampment when they landed at the nearby port centuries ago. For you to know, the Sabu people were known as great warriors. Their native land was an island located between Sumba and Timor and called Sabu Island. Some people also called the island as Savu.

The hill was green when I was there. The grass looked very appetizing for horses and cows, and that made the people from the area often brought their horses and cattle to the top of the hill and let them grazing there.

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From above the hill, almost all Waingapu could be seen clearly; the residence area, airport, beaches and also public facilities in the city. Because of its strategic location, in the second World War era the Japanese built defense bunkers on the hill. Up till now, the entrance holes of the bunkers still existed. There were four holes at the top of the hill and the holes could be entered. The holes would bring travelers to the exit holes at the foot of the hill. Unfortunately, the holes were not maintained, garbage were seen around the holes . At least that was what I saw when I was there.

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The local history that related to the hill was not only happened in the past era. Once in modern era, a commotion burst in Waingapu between two groups of people, and the commotion was spread rapidly in almost all corners of the city. In order to regain peace in the area, the leaders of the groups made and then signed a peace agreement; and the place that was chosen in where the agreement was signed was at the top of Mau Hau Hill. The historical event made people also called Mau Hau Hill as Bukit Persaudaraan (Fraternity Hill)

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Nowadays, Mau Hau Hill was became one of Waingapu’s place of interests. People would go up to the top of the hill in their leisure time, either by cars or by motor-cycles. The road to the top was relatively good although it was not too wide. People would spend time enjoying the scenery unfolded below the hill while waiting for the sunset, while others chose another spot facing the airport to see planes take offing and landing at the airport. Teenagers came in a small group and did their activities with their friends.

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And me? I was there to snap some sunset pictures. Unfortunately dark clouds prevented me to get clear pictures of the sun when it started to hide behind the rows of hill in afar  😦

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Keterangan :

Tiap kali pesawat akan mendarat di Bandara Umbu Mehang Kunda di Waingapu, Sumba Timur, jika para penumpang melihat ke arah barat, pasti akan tampaklah sebuah bukit yang di atasnya terdapat sebuah bangunan seperti paviliun. Belakangan baru aku tahu kalau bukit itu merupakan bukit yang sarat dengan sejarah, khususnya bagi masayarakat Waingapu dan sekitarnya.

Bukit tersebut dikenal dengan nama Bukit Mau Hau. Dan karena bandara terletak di kaki bukit itu, maka dahulu nama bandara itu adalah Bandara Mau Hau. Baru pada tahun 2009 diubah namamya menjadi Bandara Umbu Mehang Kunda seperti yang kita kenal sekarang.

Menurut penduduk setempat, Mau Hau berarti kediaman orang-orang Sabu yang sejak dahulu dikenal sebagai orang-orang pemberani dan pejuang tangguh. Konon di jaman dahulu salah satu raja yang ada di Sumba ini, yaitu Raja Lewakambera, meminta pertolongan dari pahlawan-pahlawan Sabu. Kemungkinan Bukit Mau Hau itu dihadiahkan kepada mereka sebagai imbalan atau bisa jadi juga menjadi tempat berkumpulnya para pejuang Sabu itu ketika mereka baru mendarat di Pulau Sumba.

Bukit Mau Hau ternyata memiliki nilai strategis tersendiri, apalagi dari puncak bukit itu hampir seluruh wilayah Waingapu bisa terlihat jelas. Bandara sampai ke pesisir pantai di sebelah timur juga tampak dengan jelas. Itu pula rasanya mengapa Tentara Pendudukan Jepang pada masa Perang Dunia Kedua memilih Bukit Mau Hau sebagai salah satu titik penting yang harus dikuasai dan dipertahankan sampai-sampai mereka membangun bunker-bunker pertahanan di sana. Sampai sekarang lubang-lubang masuk bunker itu masih bisa ditemukan di puncak bukit. Bunker-bunker itu juga memiliki pintu-pintu lain di kaki bukit. Sayang keberadaannya sekarang praktis tidak terawat. Ketika aku ke sana, sampah nampak terserak dan bau tidak enak juga lumayan menyengat  😡

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Arti penting Bukit Mau Hau tidak berhenti sampai masa Perang Dunia Ke Dua saja. Ketika Waingapu sempat diguncang bentrokan antar kelompok, lagi-lagi Bukit Mau Hau berperan penting karena di atas puncak bukit itu akhirnya ditandatangai perjanjian damai yang mengakhiri pertikaian antar kelompok itu. Karena itulah Bukit Mau Hau disebut juga dengan nama Bukit Persaudaraan.

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Sekarang Bukit Mau Hau menjadi salah satu tujuan wisata bagi penduduk Waingapu maupun bagi pelancong dari luar daerah situ. Adanya jalan yang memungkinkan kendaraan roda empat mendaki sampai ke puncak bukit membuat puncak bukit itu lumayan ramai pengunjungnya, khususnya pada hari-hari libur. Tetapi tiap sore pun ada saja orang yang datang ke sana untuk sekedar bersantai sambil memandang bentang sawah menghijau yang terhampar di kaki bukit atau ada juga yang datang ke sana kemudian memilih duduk menghadap ke timur sehingga mereka bisa melihat bandara dan pesawat-pesawat yang baru take off atau mau mendarat dengan jelas.

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Di puncak bukit itu penduduk setempat juga menggembalakan ternaknya, baik kuda maupun sapi. Ternak-ternak itu kelihatan gembira bisa merumput di sana karena rumputnya kelihatan tebal dan segar.

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Aku sendiri datang ke sana dengan tujuan menyaksikan saat-saat terbenamnya matahari di balik deretan pegunungan di kejauhan. Sayangnya mendung tebal menghalangi keinginanku itu. Saat-saat Sang Surya menghilang di balik bukit tidak bisa aku nikmati sepenuhnya  😦

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Categories: Travel Pictures | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “A neglected historical hill

  1. Ada yang kehabisan baterai pas disini… hiks… gagal total buat moto sunsetnya..

  2. Senja di Bukit Mau Hau indah betul ya Pak. Hamparan padang rumput dan ternak begitu kah, syukur belum dirambah pemukiman. Salam akhir pekan.

  3. Such beautiful pictures, I can only imagine what it was like being there in person. Do you think all the people were inside their houses? Since they were not tending the horses?

    • In Sumba, it was their tradition to let their horses roaming free. Early evening the horses would go back to their stables by themselves. So .. yes, they were not tending their horses time after time

  4. gila mantep banget pemandanganya

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