The beauty of Toba lakes has inspired writers since time immemorial.
The dry wind buffets the tall, coarse grass, blowing the tips of the trees, and causing ripples to form on the surface of the water. The golden rays of the morning sunshine brightly. At the end of the headland, by the side of the lake, clusters of houses lie scattered behind the row of brownish-green hills.
“A beautiful lake and a warm community,” is how Dutch writer R. Freudenberg describes Lake Toba in his 1904 book Onder de Bataks Op West-Sumatra (Among the Bataks in West Sumatra).
Lake Toba is a magnificent lake covering 1,130km2 was created by a massive, deadly explosion that altered the course of civilization. The violent supervolcanic eruption 74,000 years ago was described by Dutch geologist Van Bemmelen as a “small apocalypse” of ancient times; it is the largest known explosive eruption in the past 25 million years, with some theorists believing that the volcanic winter it caused killed most of the people on earth at the time.
Tens of thousands of years later, Toba is so serene, it is hard to imagine such devastation. A village was known as Huta Siallagan that surrounded by a stone wall, is home to a number of megalithic relics in the shape of stone chairs, which in the past served as an outdoor ‘courtroom’, complete
IN Pusuk Buhit Mountain, a sacred place in Batak mythology, there are the dry row of hills surrounding Lake Toba.
Exploring the Batak highlands is like entering a picture book of old paintings of the Indonesian archipelago. Topographically, to the north of Toba lies Sibuatan Mountain, and further north is Mount Leuser National Park. To the south is Batang Gadis National Park. Far to the west is the Indian Ocean, and the Malacca Strait is to the east. Toba is right in the heart of the hinterland of North Sumatra, surrounded by superb scenery and numerous waterfalls, including Lumban Rang, Situmurun, Sigarattung, and Sipiso-piso falls. I drive past Bakkara Valley, the birthplace of King Sisingamangaraja XII, the last of a 400-year-old dynasty of rulers considered divine kings. It is perhaps because of all these captivating destinations that a Presidential Decree was signed a number of years ago establishing the Lake Toba TourismArea Management Authority Board.
In Tomok, a settlement in east Samosir, an island the size of Jakarta that lies in the middle of Lake Toba, most days, especially holidays, there are many tourists to the grave of the ancestors.
Outside the ancient site of King Sidabutar’s grave, there is a souvenir market and a wooden sigale-gale totem. There are many sightseers on boats, sailing to Tuk Tuk, the tourist center of Samosir Island, or Balige on the other side, or stopping off at TB Silalahi Museum.
The past story tells that “Lake Toba,” is Boru Saniang Naga, an incarnation of God that dwells in the water. So, it must be looked after, it must not be contaminated or spoilt.” According to ancient beliefs, in which the Batak people worshipped Opung Debata Mulajadi Nabolon, taking care of the environment was a matter that was not negotiable.