I decided to make a few days stop in Makassar as it was on the flight path back to Kuala Lumpur . After sorting out my luggage I wandered around the airport aimlessly before befriending a student. I asked him if there were any interesting towns out of Makassar that I could spend a night or two and he recommended me a town called Tana Toraja which is the famed ‘Land of the Heavenly Kings’. He informed me that I could take an eight hour night bus ride and arrive the next morning. As it was still early in the afternoon he recommended me a budget hotel near the bus terminal to freshen up for the night bus journey.
“Londa” Tomb, Tana Toraja
Tana Toraja Town Centre
The eight hour bus journey passed quickly as I did not notice the time taken for the journey. I was really knocked out in dreamland … mind and body getting more mature here. Tana Toraja is located in the highlands hence it was cold on arrival in the morning and the mist was all over the town. I started looking for lodgings with the help of a taxi driver whom I met at the Tana Toraja bus station. Got myself a room and freshened up for the day. I asked the the taxi driver for places of interest in Tana Toraja and he mentioned one place that I should go which is the Londa tomb.
Paddy fields, Tana Toraja
‘Londa’ Family burial cliff
‘Tau Tau’ balcony overlooking the land.
The Londa tomb is actually the Londa family burial ground where the bodies are not buried but the casket is placed in a cave, in a carved stone grave or hung on a cliff. It goes by the social standing of the dead person, the wealthier they are mostly likely that their caskets would be in a carved stone grave or hung higher on the cliffs. The normal person would be just laid in the cave or outside. The Tau Tau or effigies of the deceased are displayed in a special balcony built on the cliffs on the caves as though they are looking over the land. Caskets of children and babies are usually hung from the cliffs with ropes. Offerings such as coins and cigarettes are given to the deceased by their relatives when visiting their family tomb.
Entering the interior tomb.
Offerings to the tomb.
Normally the bodies of the deceased would be exhumed, washed and cleaned, dressed in new clothes and groomed. This event is usually held in the month of August and called the Ma’Nene ritual . Funerals here are more to an event where everyone celebrates the death of a family member and is often held months or years after deaths in order for the families to raise funds for the funerals which is carnival like where water buffalo’s are slaughtered and their carcasses are then lined on the field. I missed a funeral of that kind which was held a day earlier. Think it was a good thing that I missed such an event of that nature.
Tourist @ Tanah Toraja town
Police Motorcycles @ Tanah Toraja town
Schoolchildren @ Tanah Toraja town
Roadside shops @ Tanah Toraja town
Fishmonger @ Tanah Toraja town
Tanah Toraja town Masjid
Tanah Toraja town
Becaks @ Tanah Toraja town
Fruit Stall @ Tanah Toraja town
Cobbler @ Tanah Toraja town
After visiting the Londa tomb I spent the rest of the day walking around Tanah Toraja town where surprisingly is filled with western tourists from all over. Stopped to have tea at a shop operated by a Bule (Westerner to Indonesians) and he invited me to join the party that was going to be held later that night. Took a beca back to the hotel where I took a short rest then and woke up to find that I had only a couple of hours left to get organized to catch my bus to Makassar which was at 9 a.m. in the morning. The mind was willing but the body had the final say ….. I hate to admit it but my body is getting mature (old) …Sigh ….