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Madagascar News Forums The Transformation of Antananarivo Reply To: The Transformation of Antananarivo


Like all historic sites in Madagascar, the Andriamasoandro “kingdom” in Ambohidranandriana, in the Vakinankaratra region, has many destinations that can be of interest to village tourism enthusiasts.
This is the case of Vontovorona. It is a mountain massif comprising Vontovorona proper (2,054m), Itendro-north (2,049m), Itendro-south (2,070m) and Ambohikely (1,954m). Vontovorona is the mountain that you see from the RN 7, a few kilometers from the city of Eaux. It is one of the recommended sites for visitors to Antsirabe. It is about 5 km from Ambohidranandriana.
At his foot, a stone is raised. It marks the encampment of the Andriamasoandro when they arrived in the country, although the first one came to the scene is Andrianony, but it only passes. Until today, many people come to pray and offer offerings (red rooster, rum, homemade sweets …), driven by the need to marry, to have a child, to make a fortune, to recover Health, etc.
The summit of the mountain is arranged to receive hikers. Stone blocks offer their service for rest after the harsh climb. From there you have an admirable view of the four corners of the region, especially on the borders of the former state of Ambohidranandriana: Ambohitsimanova in the south, Manazary in the west and Andranomanelatra in the north. The southeastern boundary lies at the level of the stele erected at the foot of the mountain. A ritual altar is also installed on the summit, but it has no connection with the Andriamasoandro migration.
However, due to a taboo that prohibits dirtying the area, all hikers and visitors must take precautions before climbing the mountain, doing their needs or purifying their hands. Another “fady” on these sacred places, the introduction of everything related to pork.
After the French conquest most servants and dependents of Andriamasoandro Maromena and Marolahy, leave the fortified site to settle outside the ditch and on the surrounding mountains. By the 1950s, the Marolahs decided to build a tomb that, by its beauty and grandeur, would surpass those of the nobles and symbolize their liberation from the state of servants. It is obvious that they really use their meninges (Farahevitra literally means ultimate idea) to achieve the result they want to achieve. What we see today attests, because the construction is really grand.
However, the construction of the tomb can never be completed. Deep of about ten meters and with two or three levels accessed by a stone staircase, it is made of enormous thick plates of granite as funerary beds and pillars to support them. There are still some samples left behind.
These stone plaques were cut at the time at the level of their grooves using burned oxen dung. They are laid without the use of cement, but so well arranged that they hold the balance until today and do not present any risk of accident.
These enormous plates of stone are said to have been transported from the surrounding hills. The Marolahys, it is said, still rotate to shoot them with vegetable ropes (bozaka). And every time they break, an ox must be felled. Given the weight of these stone plates and the fragility of the strings used, it is easy to imagine the number of animals sacrificed. It also means that their transport does not last for more than one year, especially as men must at the same time devote themselves to the work of the fields.
Unfortunately, this ambitious project can not be appreciated by the manes of the Andriamasoandro. Indeed, since the 1950s, three successive generations started the construction and then continue the works. Each time, the initiators die mysteriously.
According to the Zanadray, direct descendants of Andriamasoandro, the explanation is quite simple. During the First World War, an Andriamasoandro called Rainisalama and living in Ambohimanatrika, resorts to the services of a Marolahy. The latter enlisted and moved to France in place of the son of Rainisalama, while the latter took charge of all his family and gave him one hectare of rice fields in Amparihimena, in the plain of Vavaharana. This is called “takalom-basy”. Rainisalama is not the only noble to negotiate as well.
The Marolahy, however, returned safe and sound from the war. In recognition to Rainisalama who he considers his “father”, he decides to translate his remains to Farahevitra. That would be simply unimaginable, an Andriana not being able to be buried in a tomb of commoners. Hence these deaths, which resemble sacrificial rituals.