At Londa and Lemo, huge vertical cliffs provide room for numerous rock graves, while their better parts are still covered in thick jungle. Both sites are famous for their Tau Tau, sitting and standing on balconies caved into the cliff. They accompany the dead, a privilege only noble families are allowed and can afford.
Tau Tau are believed to be a visual representation of the dead. They are carved out of jackfruit wood because its white sap symbolises purity and its yellowish wood best resembles human skin. Dressed in red and yellow outfits their hands are outstretched, palms facing upwards, giving blessings. The practice of placing tau tau at the graves more or less stopped in the 1980’s thanks to the plundering of grave sites. Nowadays, the valuable puppets are hidden behind metal fences on private property.
At Londa, the lower part of the cliff is used as burial site. The coffins of ordinary people are placed in caves and crevices at the foot of the hill, while the remains of persons of higher rank rest in burial chambers carved from the wall of the limestone cliff, the higher the rank, the higher the chamber.
At Lemo, used as a burial site since the 16thcentury, over 70 chambers have been hammered into the rock, each of them containing the remains of a whole family, placed in rows and layers. It takes up to two years to complete such a chamber. Since deceased family members are often kept around for several years before burial, this is not such a problem.
Londa and Lemo are difficult to access. Both are located at the bottom of a valley, long flights of stairs leading down. We provide assistance for those who want to make their way there to see the graves from close up. But both sites can also be observed from a distance on easier to reach observation platforms..
For detailed information with photos about accessibility at Londa and Lemo contact us.