Anosy Avaratra Travel Guide

  • Do you see houses ? Wrong ! Those are tombs!
    Do you see houses ? Wrong ! Those are...
    by Norali
  • Tranomanara are only to find above noblemen tombs
    Tranomanara are only to find above...
    by Norali
  • Shopping for art & craft is Ok in Anosy Avaratra
    Shopping for art & craft is Ok in Anosy...
    by Norali

Anosy Avaratra Shopping

  • Norali's Profile Photo
    The beauty & the sheer tenderness seduced me

    by Norali Updated Jul 17, 2006

    Impressionist paintings, incl. market sceneries, landscapes.
    I have a thing for those... Has been a strong taste for landscapes for years.

    Portraits are just sneaking on top of my preference scale. Maybe the emotion in them would have to do with that. I'm more & more expecting to seize expressions one can read on those faces. Could be the tenderness, boldness, harshness, anger///

    Although a tiny gallery, you'll find nice stuffs in Ateliers Zacaranda. Check picture #1.

    Apart from Ateliers Zacaranda, one could reach the private gallery of one of greatest impressionist painters in Madagascar. But be prepared to pay, the guy is big. :-) He also lives & paints in Anosy. I'll fetch his name, cannot remember it now. Still, I visited his workshop & gallery once. Was then so enticed by those huge landscape paintings (one, I could guess it, of a Ranomafana spot... thick forest, river, rocks..)... Didn't even try to ask about the price. As I said, the guy used(s) to be huge...

    What to buy: Was my company running well (we haven't even found any premice, so far.. lol), I would be able to buy this painting on Picture 1. My taste for portrait is developing. The first portrait-like composition was this market scenery painting sold in Antsirabe. And now, this breast-feeding painting... So much tenderness & light in it. Just love the blueish shades of pink & blue amidst the warm ochre, orange, brown & yellow combination... I also love the lightness & balance in it...

    What to pay: I went asking about the price of the painting on picture 1: 150000 Ariary for the portrait (about 60 euros, a bit more in USD: 60-70)

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    Reminds me of my early 80s holidays in Ambila 2 more images

    by Norali Updated Jul 17, 2006

    Both the workshop ("Atelier") & the shop were in Anosy area. Go there for paintings (impressionists, portraits), watercolours, batik materials as well painted silk material.

    On picture #1, the watercolour painting I bought in 2000... because the sight of it suddenly reminded me of my holidays in Ambila-lemaitso wen I was 11 or 12. First & only time ever living in a bungalow (a real East coast hut, made from big leaves, without electricity, no running water & with lizzards). Painted by Rakotoarimana, the owner of the art-cum-craft gallery.

    What to buy:
    - Batik material(s) with typical Malagasy motive (bivouac, for instance). Choose it with fauve warm shades if you decide to use it as lamp (see picture #2). It was a batik material I fetched as a gift for my best friend. She had the Belgian blue stone block fit to mount the lamp.. and voilà !

    - Watercolours

    - Watercolour painted silk material.. as a superb scarf, a tapestry, elegant cushions (jada green, pink camaieu, garnet-bordeaux combination, blue shades...)

    - Misc: boards of board games (with stones from Madagascar as balls); wood carvings; wood scuptures...

    What to pay: Last time I bought sthg was in 2000.. cannot remember the prices

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Anosy Avaratra Local Customs

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    Red shades for Merina noblemen tombs

    by Norali Updated Jul 17, 2006

    What would probably shock Westerners & most Christians of the world is all correct for Merina noble(wo)men. What I'm referring to is the use of red shades as colours of tranomanara. For the tranomanara being an distinctive feature of noblemen's tombs, what could be more approriate than using red shades since the latter were the colours of nobles. Actually, only the noblemen could wear red, carmin et all. be it for their umbrellas, accessories, clothing. Btw, the Merina kingdom flag is made of red & white parts.

    So, while most Malagasy use to avoid wearing red while mourning, some would be expected to bury a loved one in a tomb with a bright red tranomanara, such as the hut on my picture.

    **There are other areas in Greater Tana where to find noblemen necropolis & those specific architectures. Still, this is a smaller area, easy to reach, on your way to the UNESCO site of Ambohimanga. Try to hit Anosy Avaratra in the mornings as it is the perfect time to enjoy the serenity of such a place".**

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    A tomb of Imerina noblemen: w/ a tranomanara

    by Norali Updated Jul 17, 2006

    Anosy avaratra is one of those places where to find traditional tomb architecture. Here, you'll find the typical Merina noblemen tombs. One of its distinctive features is that a Merina noblemen tomb has this little wooden hut above it. The little hut is called "tranomanara" (:"cold house"). Uses to be called "tranomasina" (:"sacred house") when the tomb it stands on is one of royal family. Also, I know that there are noblemen groups which could have a tranomanara, others who couldn't.

    Its origin reportedly dated back to Andriantompokoindrindra, son of Imerina King Ralambo (17th cent). He didn't succeed his father. His brother, Andrianjaka, inheritated the kingdom instead whilst Andriantompokoindrindra obtained a smaller kingdom (Ambohimalaza). What could be perceived as a reaction to this was that he once decided to add a wooden hut to his tomb. His idea was to state the difference between him, a nobleman, & the freemen, also that, then, dogs wouldn't be able to walk on (his tomb &) his mortal remains. His brother, the King, adopted this view & had added a tranomanara on his tomb.

    Well to sum it up, if you see one with a small wooden hut, it is a nobleman's tomb, for sure.

    Why a "Cold house" ? because no fire could be lit in the hut... Now, got me hink, why would one light a fire in a wooden hut on a tomb ? lol
    Anyway... while chatting with Bayard, he reported the "shocking" story of a painter whose tomb was (is) in the necropolis & who decided to occupy the tranomanara of his tomb. Seems it was a real offense to tradition as he used to live & paint in the hut. Of course, he had to cook there & then, light a fire... and that was so shocking for the villagers. Bayard said it was there that came the adage "The village is burnt as Ramaka is there"... I was told though that this say had its origin from earlier period...

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  • Norali's Profile Photo
    Red, carmin were only for the then noblemen 2 more images

    by Norali Updated Jul 13, 2006

    Favorite thing: Well, the area has more than only being the place where a part of my ancestor originates & was buried. lol

    It is one of those places where to find traditional tomb architecture. Here, you'll find the typical Merina noblemen tombs. Some distinctive features:

    - a Merina noblemen tomb has this little wooden hut above it. The little hut is called "tranomanara" (:"cold house"). Uses to be called "tranomasina" (:"sacred house") when the tomb it stands on is one of royal family. Also, I know that there are noblemen groups which could have a tranomanara, others who couldn't.

    Its origin reportedly dated back to Andriantompokoindrindra, son of Imerina king Ralambo (17th cent). He didn't succeed his father. His brother, Andrianjaka, inheritated the kingdom instead whilst Andriantompokoindrindra obtained a smaller kingdom (Ambohimalaza). What could be perceived as a reaction to this was that he once decided to add a wooden hut to his tomb. His idea was to state the difference between him, a nobleman, & the freemen, also that, then, dogs wouldn't be able to walk on (his tomb &) his mortal remains. His brother, the King, adopted this view & had added a tranomanara on his tomb.
    Well to sum it up, if you see one with a small wooden hut, it is a nobleman's tomb, for sure.

    - there were times when only noblemen could use/wear red, carmin & related shades. So one could expect noblemen to paint their tombs in red to stress the distingo between them & the other groups (freemen & slaves). Red umbrellas, red/carmin clothing were exclusivity to noblemen.

    Now, pic 2... posted for the beauty of the geometrical & abstract motives of the fresca

    Fondest memory: Quite strange...

    The sight of a tomb with a bright red tranomanara was so striking & unusual to me (so surprised I forgot to take any picture of it). Knowing red is a forbidden colour when you mourn a family member & a loved one, it could be even more surprising to a foreigner (Christian, esp.) to find a bright red colour as permanent features in a burial site. Returned there, just for this third picture...

    The sight of the bright red tranomanara was a memory, not a bad one ... not that usual unless you find a similar site.

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    Best time to stroll there is in early morning

    by Norali Updated Jul 10, 2006

    Favorite thing: For Anosy Avaratra being about 2-3 kilometers from my place, I use(d) to pass by very frequently. It is on my way to the city center so at (old) times, I used to pass there 4 times a day... The same as with Lazaina village.

    I've never dedicated a full day to visit the village like a walking tour with a guide & all... Instead, there used to be a butcher stall where we bought meat & we'd done that for years... Instead, my daily walks sometimes lead me to Anosy area... Instead, once in a while, I enter the village to soak up the serenity of the graveyard in the early misty mornings. It could have been another noblemen graveyard but no, my grand-ma (Mother of my Mother) originates from here & her mother has her tomb here. So, I was happily comfortable to visit this particular graveyard.

    Anosy Avaratra is only about 14km from the city center, on the way to Ambohimanga.

    Fondest memory: Visiting the serene graveyard in the early misty mornings is my fondest memory of the area... when sun is rising & its rays caress my face. This rising sun offered us a splendid view onto the ricefields at our feet as Bayard & I were in his orchard, standing on the top of a small cliff.
    I guess the experience wouldn't have been the same at 2pm under a beaming sun.

    Also loved to see the shadows of the tombs & their tranomanara cutting the rather thick fog. There was a thick fog that enveloped the whole site. Pity! we cannot see it on the picture. I took it when the fog lifted up.

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