The Legend of Samosir’s First Settlers
Legend has it that King Sidabutar was the first man ever set his foot on Samosir Island. Later on he and his descendants resides in an area which is now known as the small town of Tomok, 5 km south of Tuk Tuk. Before the arrival of Christianity to the island, they practiced an indigenous belief called Parmalim which is basically another form of animism. However, in the 19th century European missionaries successfully converted this society into Christianity, which occurred during the reign of the third king of Sidabutar family. The royal graveyard at Tomok is the evident to this.
The grave itself is located a little uphill from the main road and we had to go through a small alley with souvenir stalls on both sides of it to get to the main site. Prior to entering the grave, everyone is required to don a Batak traditional piece of cloth called ulos which is available at the gate and can be rented for free. Upon entering the gate to the grave, our eyes were fixated to one big tombstone with some carvings on it which resemble a face, a woman and a man. Apparently that is the tomb of the first King Sidabutar. The largest carving is said to be the face of the king himself, while the woman sitting on top of the tomb is the one the king had fallen in love for years. The other carving at the bottom of the tomb is said to be the king’s guardian.
Apart from the main tombstone, there are other tombs in the area. Some adorned in Batak traditional ornaments while the others already had Christian crosses embellished on them. According to some sources it was not until the third king that Christianity became the religion of the family.
Still in the same area, there are benches which are used for visitors to listen to the explanation from local guide. However since we came there quite early in the morning, there were barely any other visitors and we didn’t see any guide at all. Taking a little detour to the back of the main graveyard, we found some statues and a tall totem pole. My best guess is they were made to symbolize the family’s respect to their ancestors. After strolling around this rather small compound, we continued our motorbike ride 10 km due north to visit the once cannibalistic society of Samosir Island.