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Tags : Historical Site

Timings : 24 Hours

Time Required : 1-2 Hours

Entry Fee : Free

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Waruga Sawangan , Manado Overview

Waruga Sawangan is a cemetery known for being an old megalithic heritage site, located just 40 kilometers outside the main city of Manado. The word Waruga refers to stone sarcophagi which was used by the people of Minahasa back in ancient times as a burial method, wherein the body of the deceased was put within the Waruga in a squatting position, resembling the position of a fetus in a mother’s womb. The box and the top cover, which has the shape of a roof so that the Waruga resembles a house, are both made from whole hard stone.

Waruga Sawangan is also known to be home to 144 dotu or clans which were previously scattered all over the villages in the Minahasa district but are now gathered together in the same compound. Visitors are also advised to carry their own snacks or meals as the location is quite remote and does not have many food stalls available around, provided that these items are consumed outside the park. The venue has also been visited by many notable personalities such as Queen Jualiana, Prince Bernard and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

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The tradition of building the Waruga in the shape of a house is known to be kept since the 1600 AD, and these graves vary in structure and the decorations or ornaments that they are adorned with depending on the occupation or the social standing of the deceased individual. For example, a human symbol would be engraved on the Waruga of a leader, or the symbol of a cow for a hunter by profession. The lines on the side of the top cover are representative of the number of people within one Waruga, usually the maximum capacity goes up to twelve people generally belonging to the same family. Instructions on the usage and making of a Waruga tomb are listed on a relief wall which is present at the entrance of the Waruga Sawangan.

How To Reach Waruga

The venue is located in a village of the same name, Sawangan Village, and visitors can reach the location via both public and private transport. It takes around an hour or so to reach Waruga Sawangan by taxis or private cars and public buses heading towards Airmadidi can be boarded from the Paal Dua Terminal, which cost around 4,000 IDR per head. Tourists can then take motor taxis, known as ojeks, from the Airmadidi Terminal and can bargain the prices accordingly.

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