This is our translation of a legend from the Jambi Province.

The Invisible Village of Koto Rayo

Centipede in Kota Rayo. When touched with a stick, the centipedes will roll up.

Centipede in Kota Rayo
When touched with a stick, the centipedes will roll up.

This legend, which many of the Batin V believe to be their genuine history (a fact), illustrates their ingrained belief in the paranormal and the powers possessed by their shaman (dukun).

Elderly Batin V men explained to us, how originally, all the people who now make up the five Batin V villages originally came from one village, and its name was Koto Rayo. The location where the ancient village was said to be located is now a very dense, untouched jungle, about 6 acres in size. It is surrounded on three sides by a palm oil plantation, with the fourth side being the Tabir River. This section of jungle is considered sacred by the Batin V people and is forbidden to be cleared for any reason whatsoever. The reason is explained in the legend below. (This legend is similar in some respects to Brigadoon—the invisible town in the famous musical with the same name.)

Several other legends associated with the Batin V can be accessed here:

The Legend of Koto Rayo

The Village of Koto Rayo was at one time enjoying peace and security, until a neighboring ethnic group threatened that security. The men of Koto Rayo made preparations for the ensuing war by preparing many spears, arrows, clubs, etc.

The dense section of jungle which is said to be the former location of the village Koto Rayo

The dense section of jungle which is said to be the former location of the Village Koto Rayo

After all was prepared the men set out to engage the invaders who were attempting to take over their land and possessions. To safeguard their women and children, the leaders of the village had their dukun (shaman) make the village and everything in it invisible. The dukun’s incantation worked, and the entire village was completely invisible. The men feeling their women and children were safe, departed to do battle, being joined by their dukun. The dukun would be present with them to place curses on their enemy and to provide supernatural powers of protection to the men as they went into battle–making them invincible.

As the two parties faced off, the men of Koto Rayo were put to the worse, and many of them died in the battle, as well as their dukun. The remaining men returned to their village, only to find no trace of it. The dukun who made it disappear was dead, and the magic mantra, or incantation he used to make the village disappear, was also forever lost.

Koto Rayo is said to be located on the north side of the Tabir River (to the left on this picture).

Koto Rayo is said to be located on the north side of the Tabir River (to the left on this picture).

The men searched for other dukun in the region to make their village and families visible again. These dukun came and attempted to bring everything back, but none of them knew the mantra. Somehow they were told that one of the words of the mantra included the word limau, but the associating words were unable to be determined. (A neighboring village uses the word limau in its name: Rantau Limau Manis.)

Still till this day people in the region, while passing through or by that section of jungle, will at times see sacred graves and fish pools, and at other times while passing by it they won’t. It’s as if parts of the village will come in and out of visibility from time to time.

The ancient village of Koto Rayo is located a little less than 7 kilometers to the northeast of the Village of Rantau Limau Manis, along the bank of the Tabir River.

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You can read 60 or more of the Jambi legends we’ve translated by clicking this link.

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