Tana Toraja is a regency in South Sulawesi, home to Toraja ethnic group. Torajan have a very unique culture and tradition that they still practice till today. Many experts consider Torajan are still practicing the original Austronesian culture, just like in Nias, an island at the shore of Sumatera.
Toraja is a very popular tourist destination, mostly for its culture. Torajan has a quite different way to respect their dead, including how to treat them, way after their actual death. Lavish ceremonies held to commemorate the death of wealthy individuals and their burial is also quite unusual. Here are some of the best place you need to visit Tana Toraja.
This village is a classic example of a traditional village in Toraja. You can see the many Tongkonan houses, the traditional ancestral house of Torajans. The house is built on piles with an oversized boat-shaped saddleback roof. Kete Kesu is a tourism village located on a hilly setting with terraced rice fields. There is a cliff nearby where locals put their dead.
Londa is a cemetery complex on a stone cliff. Torajan doesn’t simply bury their dead, they put them in a coffin and then put them on a cliff. There is much small cave in this cemetery cliff, some were carved with the sole intention to put a coffin. In the entrance of a cave, there are lots of wooden dolls that are made to look like the deceased that are ‘buried’ there.
Batutumonga is located on the slope of Mount Sesean, so it is actually has a very cool climate as well as the general view of almost all Toraja area. The natural scenery here is so beautiful, you probably want to appreciate the scenery before you explore the Batutumonga Village. There is a scenic rice field that is located on a height, making it an ideal place to enjoy the hilly panorama.
Bori Parinding and Pohon Tarra
Bori Parinding is an old burial site for wealthy and aristocracy only. Unlike many other burial sites in Toraja, Bori Parinding is easily identified by its many menhirs (rock pillars protruding from the earth). Pohon Tarra (Tarra Tree) is a burial site for babies. When a baby dies in Toraja, instead of being placed in a cliff, they are placed in a niche carved in a big tree.
Pallawa is yet another complex of Tongkonan, the ancestral Torajan House. The house in Pallawa is used for keeping the body of a dead person before being buried in a massive traditional ceremony. You can see how wealthy the people there by looking at how many buffalo horn stacked in front of the house.
Ranteallo is actually just a normal residential area. However, this place is popular as a pig and buffalo farm. Both animals are very important in Toraja culture. The most sought after Buffalo is the bicolored one. The Price for a very desirable buffalo can reach up to billions of rupiahs.
Toraja is probably one of a very few big tribes in Indonesia with an original Austronesian culture that is so unique. The ceremonies in Toraja are always big occasions that attract people from all over Indonesia.