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Friday, November 16, 2012

Nature and legends entwined at Fairy Cave

Visitors to the Fairy Cave, about 7km from Bau, near Kuching, would think that the four concrete structures at one of its entry points could have been constructed to store water.
Actually, they are remnants of fortresses built by the Japanese army during its occupation of the state in 1941.
Dihoi Nyaweng, a community leader of the nearby Krokong area related that the structures had been there for more than seven decades.
According to him, Fairy Cave and the nearby Wind Cave were among several areas in Bau used as bases by the Japanese then.
“They (Japanese Army) built these fortresses to defend themselves from enemy attacks but later abandoned them after the war,” said Dihoi.
He waits: The mysterious statue found inside the cave.
Today, the fortresses have added themselves to Fairy Cave’s colourfully rich history that also includes legends and superstitions.
Moreover, the cave and its surrounding sites have also been gazetted as a jungle park by the Forestry Department.
According to Dihoi, the local Chinese have built a number of shrines inside the cave which, coincidentally, has many interesting rock formations that resemble some of the Chinese goddesses. One even has a figure of the Buddha.
However, the Bidayuhs have their own legend about these peculiar formations.
“The legend tells of a village not far away from the cave, where the villagers once held a festival. A pair of orphans wanted to join the revelry but the villagers were cruel towards the two.
“Rather than sympathise and welcome the orphans to the festival, the villagers made fun of them and chased them away. For this heartless act, the villagers were cursed and turned to stone.
“The Bidayuh elders use this tale to explain the human-like rock formations found in the cave,” Dihoi said.
Although much smaller than the those in Niah and Mulu, the Fairy Cave does have its own charms and uniqueness, and it is still quite huge.
Eye-catching: Aview inside the Fairy Cave
Last year, it became the centre of attraction of thousands coming in for the “Rock On 2-International Rock Climbing Festival”, an outdoor sporting organised by the Krokong Development and Security Committee (JKKK Krokong) and Outdoor Treks and Natures Sdn Bhd.
To explore Fairy Cave, however, one does not need a guide. There is a tower with steps that lead to the entrance of the cave. Inside, visitors can easily breathe in its wonders just by climbing on its 100 concrete steps.
There is a boardwalk on the right side that will lead visitors all the way through the darker areas inside.
“Chances that you’ll get lost inside the cave is quite slim,” said Dihoi.
Nevertheless, Dihoi said while Fairy Cave remained as a popular destination among visitors everywhere, he also hoped that better facilities would be developed there.
“I believe visitors would want that,” said Dihoi, pointing out that apart from the steps, the only other facilities there were two toilets and a limited parking space.
Dihoi said Fairy Cave has great potential to be developed as a tourist destination, espe-cially among the cave enthusiasts and rock climbers.
He also suggested that a permanent building to be built there to house food stalls and souvenir shops.

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