Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
I continue my journey to Sulawesi (Indonesia) from July 2007. I take you to Lemoone of the most famous sites of the Toraja country.
The dead are watching you
In Lemo, there are tombs carved into a cliff, guarded by wooden statues, called tau-tau, who represent the dead. From the top of their rock balconies, the dead look at you.
At the foot of the cliff, the effect is striking. The tau-tau have large fixed eyes and reach out to you.
But there was nothing morbid or frightening about this spectacle. On the contrary, I keep the memory of a great impression of peace.
It must be said that the village of Lemo is located in a beautiful small valley with rice fields, very quiet. The place is beautiful and breathes serenity.
This is the very first site I visited during my stay in Toraja countrylast July. I went there with the family of Dutch people with whom I sympathized and made a good part of the road, from Makassar to the Togian islands.
Lemo is located about 15 kilometers south of Rantepao, where we stayed.
It is best to visit Lemo in the morning. The light is more beautiful and the sun illuminates then the cliff, which is in the shade later in the day. Few tourists during our visit.
Sulawesi: the traditional houses of the Toraja country
At the entrance of the site, there are traditional houses tongkonanwith that graceful curved roof. But tradition does not prevent modernity. One of these Toraja houses was flanked by a big satellite antenna for TV.
For this first day, we had requested the services of a guide and rented a car. He drove us to the spectacular funeral ceremony which I have already mentioned.
But to visit Lemo, as well as the other sites close to Rantepao (traditional villages, tombs and rice fields), the presence of a guide is not really essential. Most of the sites are easily accessible.
I rode around the following days on my own, on a motorcycle. The ideal means of transportation, in my opinion, to travel the small country roads between the rice fields. These trips are much more uncomfortable by car. You just need to bring a map of the area, which you can find everywhere in the hotels and restaurants of Rantepao.