The Rantepao Market, Monoliths and Tombs of Londa in Toraja Land, Sulawesi
Didn’t want to leave Toraja Land without a visit to the Rantepao daily market, the first stop today. Outside the large market, many palm wine sellers. Some wine jugs had a very high alcohol level…View image… Inside the large market, we learned about and saw:
– Eels are raised in rice paddies and is one of the Torajan’s favorite foods. The eels, sold alive, resembled nothing more than slithery snakes, one of my bugaboos, big ugh;
– Sago is sold in blocks. We’d see sago processing along the road into Central Sulawesi…View image…(we hoped)…more later on Sago;
– Rambutans. A red hairy, spiny fruit that you crack open, pop out the seed inside and eat the remaining white Litchi/Lychee flavored fruit. They were just coming into season and not completely ripe. One of my favorite fruits in Asia.
– There were freshly ground coffee beans with the wonderful aroma of coffee permeating the market…View image…;
– Chickens still strutting around, waiting to be sold; dried fish…View image…; and
– Jo-Jo and wife, Rita’s little market shop. When he’s not guiding, Jo-Jo gets up at 5:00 am to help Rita open their store and sell.
On to the monoliths. …View image… Instead of boring you with a description, basically another way Torajans from this particular village are buried, watch the video above.
From monoliths to Londa with its entombed hanging graves ranging from 800-1,000 years old. This was our first glimpse of Toraja’s very famous cliff tombs. Seen photos in magazines and National Geographic specials without knowing exactly where they were located and what purpose the hanging graves served. Now it was time to find out.
The three of us walked down a flight of slippery, moss covered steps a short distance and there was this not to be believed sight. … View image… Effigies lined up in a sheer cliff. Rows of “people” staring down at us. It boggled the mind how Torajans could hoist a wooden coffin up to the top of the cliff using rope before lowering it into the family tomb where other Torajans were waiting to help move the body into its final resting place. The latest burials were easy to spot with bright colors whereas the oldest effigies, etc. had all the colors bleached out of them.
There were broken pieces of coffin, bones and skulls littering the ground where they had disintergrated and fallen with age. Only high-class Torajans from Londa could afford to be buried in this fashion.
As mentioned before, each village consists of one extended family with the tongkonan, a traditional Torajan house, the center of the village and Torajan social life. The tongkonan also has a name which becomes the name of the village. You could only be buried in the areas of Londa, Lemo and Keta Kesu if you lived in that particular village.