The old settlement of Kete Kesu is a very interesting place to visit in Tana Toraja. Generally because it is the most complete settlement that still displays Torajan culture until this day. The area consists of a compound of several tongkonan houses and their accompanied granaries, rocky cliff burial sites and ceremonial grounds, rice fields, and water buffalo pastures. There is also a ground with megalith stones, which have been placed there over the decades.
You may enter some of the Torajan houses to take a look at the interiors. Their houses are usually high above the ground and you have to enter through a hatch in the floor after walking up a steep ladder. Everything is basically concentrated in one large room. Sleeping, cooking, playing, it happens in the same place. It’s pretty interesting to have seen although I cannot imagine myself living there.
The burial site at the Kete Kesu settlement is different from other graves, because the deceased used to be placed in wooden coffins and were hung from the sides of a high rocky cliff wall. In most other burial sites, the dead would be buried within the wall, but here most of the dead are placed outside in coffins. Each coffin contains many bodies. And since most of the coffins were very old, nothing remained inside except for a pile of bones and skulls. There is a long stone staircase carved into the rock wall which you can climb. Along the way you will piles of human remains laying around. There is no scent, but the ambiance is something else. I had never seen so many real human skulls together in one place before.
It is a very unique and thought-provoking place to have seen in Indonesia. The are several wooden tau tau figurines, which are safely locked behind a gate to prevent looters and thieves from having any ideas.