Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Day 2 in Bukit Tinggi

Friday prayers in an ancient mosque.

The advantage of traveling independent of any package is that you are free to choose your destinations at your own pace without being bound to tight schedule and rigid itinerary. However, it is pertinent that you should employ a good driver/ guide who is willing to subscribe to your whims and fancies, especially when you’re an avid photographer and you need to make impromptu stops to snap good angles of a landscape or candid moments. For this, we were lucky to have met Ei en (Saiful Rahim – he was named by the great muslim writer, Hamka), the son of the hotel owner, a graduate of Liverpool in IT and film production.

Lembah Harau is a popular visiting spot by many and that was our destination that day. We asked if there was anything of interest on the way and someone suggested we stopped at Masjid Bingkudu, an ancient mosque of more than 2 centuries. Since it was Friday, we opted to do our prayers there. It is situated about an hour away from Bukit Tinggi, in a village called Canduang.

Masjid Bingkudu

The interior

The unique roofings

A view of Masjid Bingkudu

Made entirely of solid wood, the unique structure stood staidly and majestic. Apart from its antique architecture, one can’t tell that it’s such an old building as it is well maintained. Being an “objek peliharaan wisata’, the whole structure is to be kept as it is with no renovations allowed. The roofing material is made of ijok leave spines, arranged neatly in thick bundles. The fact that the roof has none of the Minangkabau features denotes that the mosque was erected prior to the Minang era. (my assumption).

The was no need for any fans as the atmosphere there is very cooling. As you enter the mosque, the old mystic charm of the whole place envelopes you. As you sit yourself on the wooden floor facing the mimbar, a sense of peace and tranquility creeps within you as you get transported back to the days of Majapahit and Mataram . The huge praying hall is supported by dozens of stout rounded wooden pillars with broad bases, snugly planted into the floor. The high wooden ceiling is decorated with rather antique chandeliers and some kerosene lamps as well. I was made to understand that like many minang buildings, every joints and hinges in the original structure are held in place without a single nail.

Kids splashing in the mosque pool

As Zohor approached, the whole mosque was filled with the bustling sounds of human voices and later as young boys thronged the vicinity and played with the water pool, it was almost festive! After a short but good and fiery qutbah by a young hunched back imam we performed the Jumaat solat and left the mosque in a drizzling rain.

Lembah Harau is in Payakumbuh, approximately an hour’s drive away and along the way vast green fields of paddy feasted our eyes. As the name denotes, the place offers a breathtaking panorama of high cliffs and canyons, with many spots of waterfalls seen from afar, some accessible by road, others only by foot treks. One of the falls was approximately 20 storey high and it fell all the way down without hitting the side wall, making a huge momentous splash below, causing even those standing far to be drenched.

The whole area is very cooling and serene and if you feel like spending a night there, there’s a resort available, situated between 2 huge cliffs, a spot where echoes are heard.

Lembah Harau

The many falls of Lembah Harau

On our journey back, we made a pit stop at a Rumah Gadang that has been turned into a hall for commercial usage. You can rent the house for functions like weddings, office dinners etc.

Rumah Gadang of Payakumbuh

The interior


Jamil said...

I'm trying to remember if I ever had a childhood where I splashed in the mosque pool.


Nope. Don't think so. If not, I'd have the lash marks (courtesy of dad probably) as proof.

Say, I still don't know the purpose of your trip. Holiday?

dith said...


Hmm..let me see. The purpose was to make a research whether kids still play in mosques' pools and how many water falls are there in Indonesia.

pycnogenol said...

Falls of Lembah Harau would have been good enough for me, kalau dah tak dapat ke Niagara tu. ;)

And DITH, if my kids were to splash in the Mosque pool (berbogel pula tu) on a Friday some more, I'd sure lash him with the very stout rounded wooden pillars of the ancient Masjid Bingkudu. So, Jamil, kira Ayah awak dah baik la tu!! ;)

dith said...

Pycno- boleh lah juga nak compare dengan Niagara, :p

Kalau lash dgn tiang di masjid tu, saya rasa bukan setakat berbekas, mahu....

Mungkin ayah Jamil hanya guna atap daun ijok saja untuk membelasah anaknya yang nakal tu.

Jamil said...

DITH - So it was a research methodology trip then? That's so lucky of you. I was confined to the four walls of my lecture hall for my RM -.-"

Anyway, what were your findings? :P

ikelah said...

laaa... let me do the calculation. hmmm...there are more waterfalls in malaysia than indonesia per square foot.

ikelah said...

second finding, Bingkudu's pool is the only one left in both malaysia and indonesia. the majlis agama had taken action to cover them as there were too many kids complaining of being beaten and even trying to bring this matter to court.

simah said...

such serenity akak...it is gorgeous!!!

dith said...

Simah- it is gorgeous and different from Turkey's beauty of course! Given my number, simpan molek ok, :p

ikelah said...

i plan nak gi turkey!!!

dith said...

Yes iKelah, let's extend our research to Turkey!

red said...

Turkey ada trapdoor gak kat belah2 desert tu. Trapdoor kenit mygalomorph pintu horizontal.

Jamil said...

DITH - Just don't forget to disseminate your findings in the Medical Journal of Malaysia *wink*

simah said...

n we also extend u our doors...(stu pintu masuk apt..stu pintu masuk toilet utk tido! hahaha)...just kidding...

klau datang sini jgn lupa ckp tu...boleh la i buli u all bawak keropok lekor! *evil grin* :0)

kalau dtang jgn lupa call tau!

thanks...got the number...

pa nih!! kuat babak orang!

u know what akak... for someone whose blood is minng..i am totally ignorant of my root... the roofs though reminds me of the roofs kat rumah my mak long dulu..what a pity dah di musnahkan sebab buat rumah batu...

happy mother's day!

dith said...

Simah- Thanks for your offer. We will remember that if and ever we get to Istanbul, insyallah.

Bukit Tinggi 2008

Great Wall 2009



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