One hand can attrack many people. That was offered by historical tour cave at Leang Leang, Bantimurung, Maros, South Sulawesi. Leang Leang means cave in Sluwasi. This object is very close to human life in the past, the caves at the Karst mountain range (limestone) not just attract tourist but also scientist.
From Makassar, You can start your journey with bus and spend about one hour. But if you start from Sultan Hasanuddin airport, Maros your journey can be more concise. Using angkot (public transportation), from airport we can use ojek (motorcycle public transportation), then ride pete-pete (another public transportation) to Maros Station. From this station we go to Bantimurung, again using pete-pete, and the last one is your ride ojek to Leang Leang Cave location.
The road to the cave is not quite good, it’s like driving boat through the waving sea. But the scenery is wonderful; big black stones in pile and the specific character for limestone. Approach the Leang Leang the road is good again.
In that area, there are two caves you should come. PettaE and Petta Kere. The distance between two caves are not so far. The first cave can be seen just you enter the tourist area which made like garden with place to rest. The streets has already reconstruction to make light visitor walking. The path is not too steep, the height is only 3 meters from the surface.
There is fence in front of the cave about 1.5 meters. From the fence, the palm can be seen because the cave is not too deep. If you observe carefully, there are five palm, but only three palm still intact. Other than palm, there are also pig and lance head, all were red.
You’ll get new challenge when visiting the second cave, Petta Kere. From PettaE cave, you can take a walk to Petta Kere, the distance between two caves is 300 meters. The pavement footway is made from pulverized bricks and small stones. There are two ways to enter the cave. The first way is fine, but the second way pass through a constrict steps between rocks.
The second cave is a little hard to reached, The height is about 20 meters from surface. But don’t be afraid, there are new circle iron stairs available. According to Hasan Basri, the guard post, the stair was built last year. “Previously, there is straight stairs which complained by visitors. Too exhausting and too appaling,”he said.
This cave keep picture more that PettaE. There are about 27 palm picture, But only 17 intact. A fat pig lies with a lance step to the heart. There also trash like scallop shell and snail scattered around. Those picture were discovered by archaeologist from Netherland, HR van Heekeren and CHM Heeren Palm at 1950. There are other hundred caves can be visit more than 50 caves were under government protection- but the easiest cave can be reached are only the two caves.
According to several scientists, include Heeren Palm, The picture of palm in the cave is palm woman. There were 5,000 years old and the size is not to big and not made at the same time. There is a tradition for people around said, palm with five fingers means disaster repellent, while palm with four fingers means expression of griefstricken. Those pictures was made by stick the palm to the wall cave, then spraey with red liquid. There is still no certainly the liquid material, Some said from red mineral (hematite) that available around the cave (at the stones and at the base river around the cave), other said stones from chewed latex tree like betel vine.
This place is not only interesting for tourist and scientist but also for businessman. Maros-Pangkep limestone area ranges from 43,750 hectare was divided, 20,000 hectare for mining and the rest area for Taman Nasional Bantimurung conservation. So, don’t be surprised, there are two official statement, one is tourist area, Balai Pelestarian Peninggalan Purbakala (BP3) culture and tourists department and industry of marble.
According to the Maros-Pangkep tourists guide, there are lots of marble company and limestone, beside two big cement company, PT Semen Bosowa and PT Semen Tonasa, which have to struggle to obtain the land with caves from the ancient man.