Travel Tips in toraja
Tana Toraja is located about 328 km north of Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi Province, in the central highlands of South Sulawesi. Situated on vast rugged landscape at 300 to 2880 meters above sea level, Tana Toraja is a place where beautiful scenery meets vibrant culture. From the distance, you can see the jagged ridges of the hills stretching side by side along the slop of the mountains, beautiful valleys in which bamboo and sugar palms are growing and the elaborately painted traditional houses with boat-shaped roof among the paddy fields.
Tana Toraja is a sleepy rural region cultivating rice, cacao, coffee, and clove most of the year but during the dry season right after the harvest, from June until September when the time for funeral ceremonies comes, Tana Toraja turns into into a major tourist resort for national and international visitors. Funeral ceremonies is the paragon of Toraja culture, it brings together families who live in other regions or countries. There is dances, animal sacrifice, lots of food and drink for everyone. The funeral of Torajan is unique, the high class Torajan is entombed in hanging graves in the steep cliff or in cave graves.
These kind of graves can be seen in Sangalla village. The cemetery of King Sangalla, widely know as Suaya, can be found at one of the slopes of the hills in this village. It is a resting place of the seven kings of Sangalla Kingdoms and their families. "Tau-tau" (effigies) of the King and their families are placed in front of the stone graves. Here you can also find a special cemetery for babies. Not far away from this place, you can find a "Tongkonan House" complete with its equipments that was built by the king of Sangalla which today is know as "Museum Buntu Kalando".
There are other places where you can see these traditional graves such as Lemo graveyard where you can see the several "Tau-tau" together adjoining the steep rocky museum on the open air; Londa, a steep rock-side graves, one of its side is located on a higher place from the hill with deep caves where coffins are arranged and grouped based on the family lines; Kambira, where you can see lots of baby graves in the living trees. Some of the graves are hundred years old.
But Toraja has more than graveyards to offers, there are several traditonal villages that are lined up with Tongkonans (Traditional Torajan House) such as Kete'kesu, a traditional village lies in the middle of the wide paddy fields. This village consists of four traditional Tongkonan House of Toraja, rice barns, and megalith stones set among the rice fields. Pallawa, a traditiona village with interesting Tongkonan. The Tongkonan of Pallawa is decorated with Buffalo's horns attached to the front of the traditional house. Nanggala, a group of special Toraja settlement with large Tongkonan. Marante, a village where a lot of Tongkonan House, big paddy barns and big rocky hill containing hanging stone graves which the located called "Erong". Tumakke, a small village with a distinguished traditional house that its roofs are made of stones, called "papa batu". To'barana Sa'dan is the centre of Toraja area. At certain parts of these villages there are four rice-barns that are very well kept with a neat grass yard. Very interesting Toraja weavings are displayed and sold in this village.
There are also some interesting places such as Batutumonga where you can find about 56 Menhir stones in one circle with five trees in the middle, this place is also a good photo spot; Bori with it's tall menhir stones, soared up several meters above the land; Makula with its hot spring water resources, o good place for resting and bathing; and Bolu, a unique Toraja's traditional public market; It is located about 1 km from the center of Rantepao town.
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View From Batutumonga
View From Batutumonga
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