The Sacred Site of Uluru...
This entry was posted on 6/20/2007 6:07 AM and is filed under Australia.
Many people reminded us that we couldn't leave Australia without making a pilgrimage to the very sacred monuments and World Heritage Areas of Uluru (formerly called "Ayers Rock") and Kata Tjuta (also known as "The Olgas"). We flew from Melbourne directly to Uluru along with our friends Lucinda and Ambuja for a most memorable few days.
It's quite extraordinary to come upon this giant monolithic rock in the middle of the outback. At sunset the colors of the sky were striking and seemed to change every few minutes against the backdrop of the red rock.
Anangu, the traditional owners of this land, are one of the oldest human societies on earth.
Ananguku ngura nyangatja, Aangu Tukurpa tjutatjara.
This is an Aboriginal place with much Aboriginal law.
Nganana pannya Tjukurpa nyanga palula tjana-languru kulini.
We hear this law from others who know.
Uwankara Ulurula munu Kata Tjutala tjukaruru ngaranyi.
Everything at Uluru and Kata Tjuta still runs according to our law.
Uluru is made from sedimentary rock called arkose sandstone which is a coarse-grained sandstone mostly containing a mineral called feldspar. It is part of a much larger section of folded layers of rock that extend way below the earth's surface. Like an iceberg at sea, all we were seeing was the tip of a giant mass.
The temperatures at mid-day were mild and lovely, but we were very glad to have all our layers on for the sunrise and sunset outings we made - temperatures drop like crazy in the desert...
Weathering gives Uluru its brilliant red color. The iron minerals in the rock are weathered by water and oxygen much like iron rusting.
Around the base of Uluru are important sacred areas, some under traditional women's law and some under men's law. It was forbidden for us to view these sacred places, and we were asked to not even take pictures of them from afar. Aboriginal women still come to the Women's birthing cave to give birth to their babies. And men still hold coming of age rituals for the young boys in their sacred places.
We took the Kuniya Walk to the magnificent Mutitjulu waterhole, home of Wanampi, an ancestral watersnake. There were also many rock shelters here with walls covered with colorful rock art.
We also went to "The Sounds of Silence" Dinner in the outback. We were greeted with champagne as we arrived just at sunset to watch the colors change around the rock, then were seated at large tables in the middle of "nowhere" to listen to didgeridoo music, eat an "interesting" buffet that featured crocodile, kangaroo and barramundi. The evening sky with its multitude of stars was worth the price of admission alone! How rare it is to see the night sky so far away from any civilization. The Milky Way was incredible, as was being able to see the Southern Cross which can only be viewed from the Southern Hemisphere. They also had telescopes set up and we had clear sightings of Saturn, Jupiter and many clusters of stars. And yes, it was freezing cold out there at night!