Wanua Koha: Agricultural Area and History

Wanua Koha, or Koha Village, is populated by indigenous communities of the Minahasa group known for their fertile agricultural areas. Wanua Koha is famous for producing palawija, which includes cloves, nutmeg, and coffee. Therefore, for indigenous peoples in Waua Koha, land forms an important part of their lives.

Wanua Koha is also an important place for the history of the Minahasa group. Located on top of the hills, the village holds historical significance for the Minahasa civilisation. Visiting Koha is a good opportunity to make a cultural pilgrimage to recognise and understand humanist values, struggles, and the cultural traditions of Minahasa people.

One of the most interesting cultural attractions is the Waruga, a stone cemetery maintained by the Minahasa people since antiquity and long before the introduction of Dutch colonialism. Instead of burying the body in the ground, it is placed in a sitting position that attaches the heels and legs to the buttocks. Around the 18th century (in 1860) the Dutch Government banned the practice due to a cholera outbreak, the virus of which was thought to have originated from the tomb. Afterwards, the waruga fell out of use and the Minahasa tribe began to make coffins to be buried in the ground instead.

In Wanua Koha, these ancient tombs still exist and can be visited as a site marker of Minahasa history. The Waruga belongs to Dotu Rambing and Dotu Manarinsing. They are the male and female ancestors who founded Wanua Koha. The term dotu itself means ‘ancestor’.

Other sites of Koha’s fascinating history are Watu Pasela and Watu Patar. Watu Pasela is a stone marker from the founding of Koha village. At Watu Patar (or ‘flat rock’) there is a sign of the left foot widely known to belong to the ancestors of Minahasa. It is called Siow Kurur, which means ‘nine knees.’


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