Coming from Ke'te' Kesu', you drive 2 kilometres further up the road and take a dirt road signed "Pala' Tokke". You either walk from the main road or ride a motorbike until you get to a house on the right and paddies on the left. In the background you already see the rugged and gray cliff formations, and as you walk along the path between the bamboo forest, you reach a stone staircase to the grave sight.
One of the few remaining original house graves, at the left side of the protruding cliff.
Pala' Tokke is still a mystery and there are various stories about the place. Toraja people claim it means 'the arm of a gecko' in their language. It is the grave of a legendary figure in Toraja's history, who was noted for his ability to climb the cliff. He had the strength of a gecko, and could cling easily to the rock walls. When he died, his corpse was put in a hanging grave that was later hung in a style reminiscent of a gecko crawling on a wall. In fact, according to other sources, his whole family is buried here.
The second interpretation, apparently, stems from the Duri people and differs from the Toraja version. In their eyes, Pala' Tokke is not the name of one person, but of a group of people who were able to climb the walls like geckos do. They seem to have been working class people with the name ma'pala'tokke, and their main task was to deliver noblemen's coffins to the mountain without using ladders. This was possible because their palms could easily cling to the cliff.
Hanging and House Graves
You will find both hanging graves (erong) and a house grave (patane) after you have climbed the stairs. The house grave is especially beautiful since it is one of the few remaining house graves made of natural materials including alang-alang grass, wood, rattan and bamboo.
The view is beautiful and on the right you will notice large holes in the cliff that have been left empty for many years. Whilst enjoying the view, be careful not to slip over the many scattered bones and fractured skulls on the ground beneath the grave.