Kete Kesu Village is not only one of the oldest (dating back more than 300 years) but also one of the most beautiful village settlements in Tana Toraja. It was nominated as a UNESCO Heritage Site and definitely is one of the places you can't miss on your trip to Toraja Land.
Kete Kesu consists of two rows of traditional Tongkonan (traditional houses) and rice granaries. Some of them can be visited inside. In fact, one of the houses hosts the small museum with Toraja artifacts (ceramics, sculptures, carvings, etc.).
The surroundings of Kete Kesu are breathtaking and will please all photo maniacs - the village is located amid the rice fields and green hills.
One of the fields serves as the ceremonial ground and is decorated by twenty menhirs. If you're lucky, you might witness one of the custom ceremonies. But even simple walking among the stone monoliths will make you feel like the Torajan Druid.
When you get closer to the nearby hills, you will see the coffins shaped as boats or buffalos, hanging from the cliffs. These are the famous traditional Toraja chests - erongs, some in the advanced stages of decomposition, revealing the remnants of the buried. Among them, the visitors will spot tau tau - the effigies made of wood to resemble the dead, dressed in elegant clothing.
The tau tau figures can also be spotted in the new graves at the foot of the stairs leading to the cliffs. The tombs are modern but very interesting - shaped as the houses of different styles and sizes.
Many people living in the village (yes, Ketekesu is not an open-air museum, it is still inhabited) are artists, painters, and sculptors, so in addition to being a tourist attraction, Kete Kesu serves as an excellent place for buying traditional Toraja souvenirs.
Kete Kesu is located only 5 kilometers from Rantepao so it can easily be reached by a public bus. But the best way is to get there in a private car, as a part of a bigger tour around Tana Toraja. To see the details about how to organize a two-day stay in Torajaland, go to our article Toraja itinerary.
W H A T T O S E E N E X T