Written by Staff Writer by Kevin Rawlinson, CNN
The latest to spend time at the Unesco World Heritage Site of Kechelim has been a piece of Indonesian mythology
Kechelim is the giant stone fort of Kechelim, a temple town at the south-eastern tip of Borneo island, as well as the location of the Kechelim islands. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most famous buildings in Indonesia, with an estimated 4,000-year-old fire at its base burning continuously.
The river and ancient fire
The Kechelim (12 b.c.e. b.b.8) is a sprawling rock-hewn structure. The ancient tribes who occupied the mountain site were also called the Kilaimanas, the four-toed cats of the Ayam Malak or River Nagas. Among them were the Ruba Garo and the Aswirra (maned wolves) were hunters and killed down more than 2,000 Sumatran tigers during the Indah’s Myrian Era (1379-1700).
Its complex cave system is also one of the country’s earliest prehistory archeological sites.
2,000 years ago, the lake waters were bathed in fire and cloud chimneys — the birth of Sumatran pygmy fires. The term pygmy fires refers to pyrocumulus, a category of fire for which the hill villages of the Himalayas and Sumatra were found to be the first examples. The smoke filled the still water — engulfing the fire and obscuring the tower of fire — through a phenomenon known as petalosense. When a pygmy fire is visited by fire, it must be extinguished with water.
Prolonged: 4,000 years
After the first Kilaima, the forests of the Kechelim Valley increased. Around 4,000 years ago, the tribes first moved from their cave into the terraced island and built their main fort — a pyramid with three tiers. Later, the houses were built on top of this mound. Now, three modern town centers were built, with a kilometer-high tower marking the entrance of the tower.
Unesco staff point out the inscriptions of the hillsmen who lived around the Sabang valley during the 17th-century.
Back in 2000, when Indonesian archaeologist Idrus Muhammad discovered some tooth and bone shards of a human skeleton in stone at the top of the tower, he was stunned. Initially, he thought the bones had fallen from a “wild animal” carcass. However, upon further investigation, he realized they were actual skeletal remains.
“Perhaps humans did die at some point in the past,” he said at the time.