Tag Archives for death


The Biggest Stupa in Asia?

Bodhnath Stupa

“Look!” I say, coaxingly. “It’ll be interesting! It’s the biggest stupa in Asia! We have to see that, right?” “Oh, alright!” says my spawn. (Neither of us are at our best with colds.) “Yeah, I guess we do have to see that.” “And,” I interject rapidly. “There’s this other Hindu temple that’s very famous, on […]


Souls Growing Skywards with the Trees

Trees silhouetted against twilit sky. Baby graves, Pana, Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, indonesia.

At Pana, the cave graves were easy to find, half of them broken open, looming out of a granite slab in the oncoming dusk and framed by dark bamboo. The baby graves? Well, as the beautiful kids who gave us directions and made us sign the guestbook said, they were in a “big tree”. “These […]


Buffalo Soldiers: Living for Death in the Tana Toraja

Funeral buffalo sacrifice, eyes open, throat slashed, dying in a pool of its own blood on the grass. Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

“Are funerals like this in London?” asks my new Torajan friend. The dead man’s drum-shaped coffin emerges from the matrimonial bedroom where he has “slept”, preserved in formalin, with his family for the last eight months. Now he has left the house, he is finally dead, his soul winging its way towards the afterlife. “Not […]