BY TEOH TEIK HOONG AND AUDREY EDWARDS
KUALA LUMPUR: After more than a decade of visiting various research facilities, putting up with shocked looks from relatives and scholars and saving money, Raimy Che-Ross finally stood at an entrance, which could lead to Kota Gelanggi.
“As I approached the area, I had this sense of an overwhelming aura. It was like I was entering someone’s house and had to be very careful with what I did,” he said of his expedition in early 2003, which lasted one week.
That first visit, he said did not produce any results and the team did not see any tracks which could lead into the lost city.
Raimy said they found embankments along the path on the second day and noted that primary growth surrounded the secondary one, which was unusual as it was usually the reverse.
He added that it was difficult to approach the area as it took about two hours of trekking on very rough terrain.
“We told the Tok Batin (orang asli head) that we were going fishing for haruan and had to go through dirt tracks with a four-wheel drive to the base camp. From here, it was a boat ride, which lasted about one-and-a-half hours,” he said.
He said the orang asli refused to enter the area, which they claimed had a lot of pantang (taboo).
“When I told them about the area I wanted to enter, they said Itu tak boleh kacau. Nanti kena makan hantu. Ratus tahun dulu orang Cina ada bikin barang. Banyak hantu, hantu dulu tinggal sana. Rimau banyak (That place cannot be disturbed or you will be eaten up by ghosts. The Chinese had built things there. A lot of ghosts stay there. There are many tigers),” he said.
They eventually agreed to send Raimy and his friend to the area but refused to enter it.
“They would send us in the morning from base camp and pick us up in the evening. They said they would leave after five minutes if we did not show up,” he said.
On the last day, they had an unusual experience when Raimy was determined to find the lost city.
“We did our usual thing and lit Indian incense and spread jasmine as a way of asking for permission to enter the pathway. Suddenly, we found a path which had not been there before. I felt that there was something beckoning and urging me to enter,” Raimy said.
“There were flowers like tepus, melur and bunga kantan, and it was very fragrant and beautiful. We just kept on walking and my friend suddenly stopped me and told me to head back.”
“He went pale and he asked me whether I could hear anything. It was then I realised that everything was silent,” said Raimy.
The two headed back and when they turned back after some distance, they found that the path had disappeared.
That will not stop him although he knows that it will take a long time to realise his dream.