The cliff of tau-tau at Lemo. (Toraja Country, Sulawesi, July 2007)
The cliff of tau-tau at Lemo. (Toraja Country, Sulawesi, July 2007)

In Lemo, the dead are watching you

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could gave been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:

  Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2007

I continue my journey to Sulawesi (Indonesia) from July 2007. I take you to Lemo, one of the most famous sites of 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 nothing morbid or scary in this show. On the contrary, I keep the memory of a great impression of peace.

Each wooden statue represents a deceased. (Toraja Country, Sulawesi, July 2007)
Each wooden statue represents a deceased. (Toraja Country, Sulawesi, July 2007)

It must be said that the village of Lemo is located in a pretty little valley with rice fields, very quiet. The place is beautiful and breathes serenity.

The peaceful village of Lemo, in the middle of the rice fields. (Toraja Country, Sulawesi, July 2007)
The peaceful village of Lemo, in the middle of the rice fields. (Toraja Country, Sulawesi, July 2007)

This is the very first site I visited during my stay in Toraja countrylast July. I went there with the family of Dutch with whom I sympathized and made a good stretch of 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 then illuminates the cliff, which is in the shadows later in the day. Few tourists during our visit.

Sulawesi: the traditional houses of the country Toraja

At the entrance of the site, there are traditional houses tongkonan, with this curved roof so graceful. 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 led us to the spectacular funeral ceremony which I have already mentioned.

But to visit Lemo, like the other sites near Rantepao (traditional villages, tombs and rice fields), the presence of a guide is not really essential. Most sites are easy to access.

I wandered the following days solo, on a motorcycle. The ideal means of transport, in my opinion, to travel the small country roads between the rice fields. These trips are much more uncomfortable by car. Just bring a map of the area, which is found throughout the hotels and restaurants of Rantepao.

  Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2007

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