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The Rolls Royce of Water Buffalo

The water buffalo is invaluable throughout Asia as every thing from the milk, meat and dung are used in everyday life.  There are few places where the powerful animal is more prized than in Tana Toraja on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.  The huge animal is treated like a member of the family and their human partner spends each and everyday with the bovine beast washing, feeding and caring for his companion.  The relationship is mutually beneficial as the beast of burden provides labor by plowing fields, providing transportation and many other tasks that the largely agrarian society requires.

The animals come in various colors, hide patterns and sizes with horns up to 2 meters (over 6.5 feet) long. The most prized however are the albino variety with blue eyes and well-shaped horns, much like the guy pictured here.  To own a near perfect specimen like this is akin to having a fleet of the finest automobiles, a private jet or any other show of wealth in our Western world.

These images come from Balifornian Films ( upcoming documentary on the elaborate Torajan funerary traditions and rituals, which include the slaughter of these loyal animals.  The funeral celebrations can last weeks with hundreds of mourners bringing offerings including cigarettes, pigs and their own coveted water buffalo. The deceased are then entombed in cliff side tombs, deep in caves or even hanging graves. There is much mystery and intrigue woven into this part of the world.

Bali Tour Toraja

Sulawesi is the home of the age old frightening myth of the "boogie man" propagated in the 15th century by the English to promote negative views of their rivals, the Buginese, who battled the marauding English, Dutch and other Europeans who were trying to obtain strategic control of the lucrative spice trade. In colonial times, cloves for example, coveted by dentists for their anesthetic properties, were more expensive than gold. The cloves only grew on the small ‘spice islands' of Sulawesi. This was also home to many other spices that were desirable the world over.

Copyright © 2010 Balifornian Tours and Travel Blog ~ Michael Doliveck

Our Adventure Photo Safaris ~ Are you a photographer or just love to take pictures?  Contact us to find out about our special tours for photographers.  Take a look at the images in the gallery, as they are good examples of the types of images you will be able to create on our tours.  The tours are led by Michael, a professor of art and photography as well as some very special guest teachers and pro photographers.  Contact us today for more information.

Do you have some great images from your Indonesian travels you would like to share? Want to submit your fantastic photo for the Balifornian Tour and Travel Blog Photo of the Day?  Please send your JPEG, location and description to  Files must be under 500 kb.

Happy travels! Salamat Jalan!

Michael and Maryam ~

Balifornian Tours and Travel Blog ~ Is The best website for news and information on Bali and Indonesia.

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Reader Comments (12)

Pretty well scripts - Should be "Pretty good content". After seeing these water buffalo, I really got into Asia and had a whale of a time. ;)

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Palmer

Thanks Andy
I am glad you enjoyed it and we are having a blast working on the documentary but it is hard work. We will keep you posted as to when it will be released. Toraja is such an amazing region with so much to explore.
Thank you,

April 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterMichael Doliveck

How interesting owning an albino water buffalo is so valuable!

April 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSuzy

Thanks Suzy
Oh yea- its crazy valuable. Highly coveted and can make a family set for life. Interesting what some cultures revere and others have no care for.
Toraja is an amazing place.
Thank you,

April 29, 2011 | Registered CommenterMichael Doliveck

Interesting cow or what kind of animal it is, never seen something like that before. Dave
You have the best blog and travel site I have seen
Great information on Bali and Indonesia

May 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdave

It's a bufallo, different kind than the usual one. blinds

May 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterandy

It's a nice one in any event, not an usual sunglass thing to see of course.

May 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterneil

It's good to see such animals in our zoo :) Supplements

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradam

this is very nice ....................ya like this


May 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlacey

I want to submit photos for the Balifornian Tour Travel Blog Photo of the Day.

June 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterharrylawson

Thanks Larry
Sure just email your images from your Indonesian travels for the Balifornian Tour and Travel Blog Photo of the Day to Files must be under 500 kb.
If you need additional assistance with this, please just let me know.

Good Luck,

June 5, 2011 | Registered CommenterMichael Doliveck

Wow! A pink water buffalo. I am amazed. This is the first time I saw it. :)

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTony Lampard

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