Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sulawesi Surprise!: A House Built in Heaven

The little village we had stepped into must be the much hyped model Toraja settlement. It is said that a few minutes from Rantepao, there is this place called Kete Kesu where one can view Toraja architecture and experience the local lifestyle. Over here, it is said artisans produce bamboo carvings and other traditional handicrafts- all these I did not see, but there were several well-maintained Tongkonan and rice barns. A Tongkonan is a traditonal ancestral house or rumah adat of the Toraja people and it has the distinguished boat-shaped and oversized-saddle back roof.The interior is meant only for sleeping, storage or meeting and is cramped and dark.The roof is shaped like a boat because the ancestor sailed all the way here to Sulawesi on a boat from South China and a legend had it that the boats which were damaged in a storm were used as roofs for the new houses. There is a myth too about the first tongkanan being build in by Puang Matua,the creator. The first Torajan ancestor who descended to earth copied the idea and now, here in the Celebes, whether in Kete Kesu or not, as long as you are in Tana Toraja, you would get to see a house built in heaven!

Here on Earth, you could see a house built in heaven!

Traveling Tip: Visit a village!


Thomas C B Chua said...

Travel Pangs, while I like the aged architecture, I cannot help (sorry) thinking of the grotesque old Chinese coffins which terrified us when we were young. You did not photograph the inside, I'm curious. God bless. Keep blogging.

footiam said...

The roof reminds you of Chinese coffin, doesn't it but then it is supposed to be a boat! Chinese coffins are terrifying but a coffin is still a coffin - it should be terrifying to be alive and be in one! I remember entering a Tongkanan in Mini Indonesia in Java where a man there served us tea. The little space had been converted into some sort of stall, very small one. I think it looks like a small room.

Have another serving of Travel Pangs!