Ampasamanantongotra - The Elevated Tomb

Ampasamanantongotra ("the tomb with feet"), got its name due to the fact that it is an extraordinary tomb on seven feet. Built before 1850, as the use of cut stones became widespread in Madagascar, this mysterious tomb draws the attention of those who take the National Road No.1 to the west of the capital. According to legend, two brothers once lived here. One was poor and had seven children, while the other was rich but had none. When the rich brother died, the ceremonies were grandiose.
But when the second brother died, his children decided to perpetuate their father's memory by building a tomb because they could not organize large ceremonies. Seven stones supporting a slab (fandriana or farafara) of 2m by 1m are a symbol of the seven children's homage to their father.
The tomb derives its uniqueness not from the materials but rather from the arrangement of its elements. Usually, the columns or tsangambato are decorative but those of the tomb of Ampasamanantongotra have tiles that serve as the ceiling of the burial chamber, where the body usually rests. Beautiful cut stones (rarivato), complete the assemblage.
This article was featured in Prime Magazine November 2018

Useful Information

When to go

This site is family-friendly. A visit is possible during all seasons, even though summer rains occur frequently between November and April and leave the trails muddy. It is preferable in the months between May and October.

How to get there

From Antananarivo, take the RN1 towards Ampasamanantongotra, which lies 13km away from Miarinarivo, the capital of the Itasy region. A small path on the right will lead you to a hamlet and the strange tomb. It is easy to spot, amid weeded ground, 150m after the church.

Where to stay

In Miarinarivo, the nearest town to Ampasamanantongotra, you will have the choice between various establishments such as the Hotel des Volcans or Kaz d'Imazy. If you decide to spend the night in the capital, the Hotel La Ribaudière, Le Colbert, La Maison des Cottonniers, the Tripolitsa, the 3 Métis or the Tana Hotel provide a warm welcome in luxurious settings.

Where to eat

Have a picnic to enjoy this quiet and peaceful spot. Otherwise, a trip to Ampefy will enable you to taste the famed specialty of the region: the freshwater fish of Itasy. Try the Kavitaha Hotel restaurant, the Eucalyptus Hotel restaurant or the La Terrasse Hotel restaurant.

What to see

Take this national road to Lemur's Park, 25km from Antananarivo, and learn about the nine species of lemurs and the 6,000 trees in that botanical park. Enjoy the opportunity to contemplate the landscape of the Imamo.