Day tour of Sangha and other towns above and below Bandiagara escarpment
April 4th, 2010
The trip to Dogon Country continues with a day tour to the village of Sangha on the top of the plateau, then with a transfer by 4x4 to other towns below the Bandiagara escarpment. At sunset, visit the major Dogon village Songho, near Bandiagara, while a circumcision ceremony is in progress.
Tour of Dogon village Sangha on the top of a plateau, just before the falaise. Sangha is a good base for trekking along the falaise and to visit several other Dogon towns, as I did yesterday. In these pictures of Sangha, a panorama of the town seen from an house roof, and vegetables drying on a roof.
The central square in Sangha, with the toguna (a meeting place having a roof held by columns) and beautiful baobab trees.
In Sangha there are majestic baobab trees and, under one of them, I am just a small dot.
I visit the Dogon chief house (" Hogon ") in Sangha. The Chief, or Hogon, is the town's oldest man and is in charged of religious and agricultural rituals. Because of his important charge, he must respect several important taboos, for example, he cannot be touched by anybody, including his wife or family components, and cannot wash himself for the remaining life.
In Sangha I see this special house made of stones rather than dried mud. This is the women's house during the menstrual cycle days because, during these days, they cannot stay in the same home with their family.
Reading foxes footprints. This is a method used to look into the future: nuts and sticks are placed into these spaces then, when a fox will come the next night, it will move the sticks and leave footprints. Reading the footprints gives an explanation to the problems which a person may have.
Bricks made by dried mud, ready to be used for buildings.
A few hours by Toyota 4x4 brings me to another place along the Bandiagara falaise. The weather is still very hot, but the landscape is amazing and still very different from the same landscape during the raining season.
Donkeys are searching for some shadow below the few green trees.
At the base of the Bandiagara cliff, at Kani-Kombole, I visit from outside a mosque made by dried mud.
It's then a short drive along the Bandiagara cliff, to old and modern Teli, a Dogon village with amazing ancient houses and granaries, built directly into the vertical wall of the rocky cliff, still used by the locals until just a few years ago.
Granaries and houses built into very difficult and inaccessible places, held by wooden poles.
Dogon house pictures from Teli, below the Bandiagara escarpment.
Me like a Tuareg (or so....)
The modern Teli on the plateau below the Bandiagara escarpment, with the dried mud mosque in the central plaza.
At the sunset, I visit the village of Songho, which is just a short drive from Bandiagara. Here, a ceremony for the circumcision is in progress.
The circumcision grotto is a place where young boys are actually circumcised. On the lower-left picture, the place where the circumcision is actually done. On top, the young boys spend their time here dancing, playing songs and renewing the paintings on the rocks. They will stay here for 21 days, spending also the nights here. During the circumcision period, every woman must leave the village.
Pictures of Songho seen from the top of a nearby hill.
A small school in Songho. There are now projects to make a new bigger school for the village.
Dried mud buildings in Songho.
An hunter's granary, having the external facade covered by animals skins.
Other Songho pictures and the toguna in the middle of the town.