Mukah, a small town located in the central region of Sarawak, is always rich with its cultural value. Populated by the majority of Melanau people, Mukah now is a well-developed town/district and well known for its famous “Kaul” festival that is celebrated every year. The Melanaus are one of the biggest and most celebrated ethnic tribes in Sarawak, known for their gentle, loving nature and seafaring skills. As Mukah is situated by the coast, it is not surprising that this division’s main economic activity is fishery which is evidently represented by the iconic statue of a blue prawn and red snapper located in Mukah town. This "Melanau Heartland" is the place where you can experience and learn all about the Melanau heritage and culture.
Lamin Dana is a Traditional Melanau Longhouse that acts as a cultural centre for Melanau Heritage. It is situated beside a small river amongst the wooden houses of Kampung Tellian. Lamin Dana is a combination of a visitor’s lodge and cultural centre. The lodge not only offers accommodation, it is also the centre of an ongoing cultural revival by training local people in traditional arts and crafts, and providing useful extra income for dozens of village families. Lamin Dana is built in the style of a traditional Melanau tall house by using only authentic materials. It offers various tours and packages that let you experience the cultural immersion activities. You can also enjoy the peace and natural beauty of Kampung Tellian by touring the mangrove or going on a boat trip.
To learn more about Melanau history, Sapan Puloh Melanau Museum which is situated inside one of the villages in Mukah is a mini private museum that displays the tradition and customs of the Melanau people. This “Mini Museum” is packed with rare and original artifacts which reflect the Melanau history and culture.
Every culture has its own dark past including the Melanau. Today, all that’s left from a long gone Melanau tradition that involves human sacrifices is the Jerunai or Kelidieng (Sacrificial burial pole) whose remnants can still be found around Mukah. Jerunei or Kelidieng is a wooden post which measures up to an armful in diameter and is made of Belian timber, a type of wood that can withstand exposure to extreme weather conditions for centuries. The Jerunei is carved with various kinds of patterns ranging from simple patterns to complicated designs which take years to finish. Those patterns are made by the Melanau craftsmen. There are four of these ancient poles left in Kampung Tellian and one in Dalat, which is the best preserved Jerunai situated outside of Dalat District Office.
Sago Factory Chimney is located outside of Tua Pek Kong Temple in Mukah. It is a magnificent 20-metre-tall brick chimney that symbolizes the town’s history in producing sago starch in the 19th century. This chimney was part of Mukah’s skyline at a time when sago palms grew plentiful on the Rajang Delta. Fun fact, this chimney is from the first sago factory in Mukah.
Tapak Pesta Kaul Mukah is on the right bank of the Mukah river estuary. During the week-long festival, there are a lot of activities to partake in, including entertainment programmes and traditional games. There are also plenty of stalls selling traditional Melanau cuisine during this event. The highlight of the festival is the ‘Serahang’ (decorated flat round basket made from sago leaf which is raised on a bamboo pole) procession led by local Melanau community elders. Located by the Kala Dana Beach, this place is a favorite for locals where families and friends can relax, enjoy the beauty of Kala Dana Beach, watch the sunset, and even grab some snacks from the stalls nearby.
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