A Guide To The Crying Stone of Kakamega
Crying stone of Kakamega most striking feature is its resemblance to a gowned figure, perpetually in tears flowing from ‘head to toe’ the stone is of great cultural and spiritual importance to the abaluhya, especially the isukha sub-group.
Residents say when the stone cries it is a good omen, signalling a bumper harvest . when there is a drought the community carries out a ritual at the stone to persuade the gods to bring rains. Other rituals are performed to allay disaster and cleanse victims of incest. The crying stone is so revered that folklore has it that it fought wars for the abaluhya against their enemies before the colonial times.
The Crying Stone of Kakamega has magical powers and protect the local people against evil design by enemies. The stone has religious importance as churches such as legio maria and rosary make pilgrimage to it, camp and fast overnight. Some religious group camp on the site on new year eve and during Easter festivities. Between 300 and 500 foreign tourists visit the crying stone annually . Local tourism also thrives at the kakamega national forest reserve.
Crying Stone of Kakamega – A Phenomenon
For anyone at the foot of this phenomenon, the most striking feature is that it resembles a gowned figure, perpetually in tears flowing from ‘head to toe’ — an image spiced-up by myth and folkfore. For the Government, it is simply another tourist attraction within the Western Kenya tourism circuit. And to scientists, it is a formation consisting of a large boulder balanced on a column of rock with water flowing from a groove in the middle. Indeed, geologists describe it as an acid plutonic rock consisting mainly of quartz, alkali, feldspar and mica. However, the crying stone of Kakamega is held dear and is of great cultural and spiritual importance to the Luhya community and the Isukha sub-tribe in particular. The Isukha live around the rock’s formation. “To visitors, it is just another attraction but to us locals, it affects our lives in many ways just as it affected the lives of our forefathers,” says 78-year-old John Shikhomoli.
The community has resisted the take-over of the crying stone of Kakamega by the Government or private developers who would like to build a resort in the area. Villagers say when the stone cries, it is a good omen, signalling a bumper harvest, for instance. When there is drought, the community carries out rituals here to persuade the gods to bring rain. Other rituals are performed to allay disasters.
Crying Stone of Kakamega – Rituals
There is a symbolic meaning when the crying stone of Kakamega ‘cries’ when it has not rained, villagers say. Shikhomoli says the site is also used for cleansing victims of incest in families. Ritual cleansing “There is a cave under the crying stone called Shimichiro, where those involved in acts of incest are cleansed before they can be re-accepted into the community,” explains Shikhomoli. The cleansing process involves those affected going to the cave to be administered traditional herbs, normally prepared by respected elders. According to testimonies, so effective is the cleansing, that no misfortune comes the way of those cleansed thereafter.
During sacrifices to appease the gods for rain or to avoid looming calamities like famine, several animals are slaughtered in nightlong festivities held at the foot of the crying stone of Kakamega. Women and children don’t participate in these festivities which are exclusively a men only affair. The women’s role is to prepare food for the rituals. “We prepare the food for our men who take part in such rituals but we are not allowed to participate otherwise,” Queen Jedina, 65, explains.
After performing the rituals, the men usually slaughter a bull, a sheep, a goat and some chickens to go with traditional foodstuffs such as ugali made from millet flour for the feast, explains Shikhomoli. On the night of the ritual, Isukuti dance troupes brought in from various parts of the region entertain those in attendance. Shikhomoli points to the entrance of Shimichiro cave where those involved in acts of incest are cleansed.
Crying Stone of Kakamega – Fought Wars For The Luyha
The crying stone of Kakamega is so revered that folk has it that it even fought wars for the Luyha. One of such stories dates back to pre-colonial times. Local elders say there was war between Luhyas and the Nandis over the boundary of the two communities. During one instance, the Nandis tried to pull down the stone, which they believed gave the Luyha immense supernatural powers. At the end of the day, more than 100 Nandis died. “The Nandis thought the crying stone of Kakamega was helping Luhyas to miraculously out-stage them and all of those who attempted to floor it perished,” explains. Shikhomoli.
This, he says, shows that the crying stone of Kakamega has magic powers and can protect the local people against any evil designs by enemies.Overnight pilgrimage The crying stone is also of religious importance as churches such as Legio Maria and Rosary Church make pilgrimages to it, camp there overnight as they fast and kesha (hold night-long prayers). “We receive Legio Maria members from far away areas like South Nyanza who come to worship here in seclusion. They believe they can communicate better with God that way,” says Kelvin Juma, a villager. He says some of the religious groups decide to camp at the site while crossing into a new year or celebrating Easter festivities, among other significant holidays.
Crying Stone of Kakamega – Visitors
Despite the bad state of the Webuye-Kakamega road and the Kisumu-Kakamega road, several foreign tourists visit the crying stone of Kakamega annually. “On average, we receive between 300 and 500 foreign tourists every year,” notes one of the youths who guard it and usher in visitors.Local tourism Local tourism also thrives in Kakamega National Forest Reserve.While driving along the Kakamega–Kisumu road, it is common to see Kenyans stopping their vehicles beside the road to have a glimpse of the stone. Schools and colleges from the Western Kenya region and other parts of the country also tour the crying stone as part of their academic or educational tours. Whenever a vehicle branches towards the stone at Ilesi, villagers flock out of their homesteads immediately to welcome visitors.
Villagers believe with improved roads linking Kakamega with other towns and Hotels for accomodation within the Western Kenya region, more visitors can flock Ilesi and improve its revenue. “We always hear funds have been allocated to improve the Kisumu-Kakamega road and the Webuye-Kakamega road but their deplorable state has remained the same for years,” they lamented. The villagers also question why the government has been highlighting the crying stone as a leading tourism attraction within the region, yet it cannot even improve the diversion from the Kisumu-Kakamega road to the site. And true to their word, accessing the site is not easy for the urbanised lot, for you have to meander through rough patches before getting to the mystic rock. That is what you have to do to satisfy your curiosity.
More About Kenya
Kenya is a world unto itself. Kenya is Africa’s original safari destination, attracting explorers, adventurers, and travelers for centuries. A safari to Kenya is a trip of a lifetime.
Tourist Attractions in Kenya:
Kenya has one of the world’s greatest tourist attractions sites, known for its diversity of landscape, wildlife, and cultures. From sweeping savannahs to tropical beaches and coral reef, dense equatorial forests to mighty snow-capped mountains, and more.
For more information visit: Tourists Attractions in Kenya
Kenya is the ultimate safari destination, providing travelers with a window into the heart of Africa. But this is not all that Kenya has to offer. Located near the equator, Kenya´s magic lies in the fact that the country encompasses an astounding variety of landscapes and climates, flora and fauna, as well as communities and cultures, home to water sports, a swim with dolphins and adventure.
For more information visit: Kenya Safari
Hotels and Accommodation in Kenya
Hotels in Kenya vary enormously in price and facilities. Luxury hotels in Kenya offer excellent standards of service and are comparable to the best hotels anywhere in the world. Kenya’s abundance of natural produce, combined with the rich variety of cultures and traditions, has created a great culinary nation.
The fertile volcanic soil of the Rift Valley produces a bounty of fresh vegetables, while the coast is a great source of tropical fruit and fresh seafood. The Kenyan coast is also the home of the world-renowned Swahili cuisine, a blend of Middle Eastern and African cooking with a particular coastal twist.
For more information visit: Hotels in Kenya
Towns in Kenya
Apart from the towns of Nairobi , Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru, Kenya has other major towns each a unique representation of the country’s striking abundance in flora and fauna. Most of these towns are headquarters in their respective counties or major economic bases in their regions. Luxury hotels and lodges located here provide good accommodation and conferencing facilities for guests who dare to try out a taste different from the capital or the coast.
For more information visit: Towns in Kenya
The Kenyan People Culture and Tradition
Kenya’s culture blends together diverse tribes, traditions, and religions into one beautiful, well-woven tapestry. These traditions complement each other while incorporating the modern influences of globalization – resulting in a vibrant cultural spirit that is uniquely Kenyan. Kenya has over 42 different tribes with different languages and several dialects. Kenyan tourism has made the Maasai and Samburu tribes the most famous because of their long preserved culture.
For more information visit: Kenya People and Tribes
We endeavor to keep our content True, Accurate, Correct, Original and Up to Date.
If you believe that any information in this article is Incorrect, Incomplete, Plagiarised, violates your Copyright right or you want to propose an update, please send us an email to email@example.com indicating the proposed changes and the content URL. Provide as much information as you can and we promise to take corrective measures to the best of our abilities.