I'm guessing there's an interesting landmark nearby, maybe a cave? When we went on a local cave tour, the first thing the guide showed us was a tree similar to yours. He said the natives in the area used to do that to young trees to serve as a long term signpost. Involved bending it over and tying in place until the shape became permanent, like with bonsai. (Minus the stunting.) I don't remember whether or not it involved cutting partway through for easier shaping, as with hedge laying. That could be a piece of history you're sitting on.