Tana Toraja in the highlands of Sulawesi
Trekking to some of the most beautiful countryside in Indonesia: the Toraja's Lands
A tour in Tana Toraja with the perfect mix of culture and adventure: cultural heritage, green landscapes with cool temperatures and great cups of coffee
Green rice paddies and limestone karst rocks form the landscape of the Toraja plateaus, an ethnic group which, although converted to Christianity by the Dutch missionaries, continues to practice the ancestral animist rites. Isolated for centuries by the impervious nature of the region and by the lack of roads, the Toraja have kept their traditions intact.
The Funerals of the Toraja
The Toraja are known for their elaborate and unique funerals. Before the ceremony the body of the deceased can be kept in the house for years, until the family can have enough money for the ceremony. The funeral begins with ritual dances, sacrifices of buffalo and pigs, killed so that they can accompany the soul of the deceased in new life. The richer and more important the families are, the more buffaloes are sacrificed. Later the body of the deceased is buried in a cave or in a space dug into a rock wall. Outside there are carved wooden figures, the tau tau, with the features of the buried person. These figures also wear the clothes that belonged to the dead man.
Tongkonan, the traditional houses and class affiliation of the Toraja
The typical houses called Tongkonan, are built of wood, raised from the ground by poles, with a straw roof, shaped like a saddle. The Toraja landscape is therefore characterized by these houses, and from the cliffs with the tombs and tau tau hanging outside, in the middle of the rice fields.
The house is very important because it is the residence of the clan, the extended family, often, especially in the case of wealthy families, the front is decorated with the horns of buffaloes sacrificed in funerals and beautiful ethnic designs. The Toraja society was originally formed of three castes: nobles, people and slaves, the class was inherited from the mother.
The tour in Tana Toraja
Green landscapes, impetuous rivers, excellent for rafting, terraced rice fields, small villages, colorful markets, mountains, forming a picturesque and relaxing environment, and very friendly people; these are the Toraja lands.