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
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.
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.
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.