Tana Toraja - Beautiful Tribe and Scenery
Tana Toraja is a mountainous area at the heart of Sulawesi Island, about 300 kilometers north of Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi Provinc. With a minimum elevation of 150 meters and a maximum of over 2,100 meters above the sea level, Torajaland or Land of the Toraja is also aptly named the Sacred Land above the Clouds.
The Torajans are an indigenous Austronesian ethnic group with rich culture and traditions. A people shaped by the surrounding landscape and blessed with great longevity, well-preserved ancestral traditions are practiced within this peaceful communal society. Recently introduced ideas, such as Christianity, synchronize harmoniously with local customs. In Tana Toraja, you get to witness the people’s dramatic ceremonies, family bonds, cuisine, and art of the only living megalithic culture in the modern world.
Among the Torajans’ unique ritual practices, their funeral rites have to be the most dramatic, elaborate, and expensive. Right after their traditional regal buildings called the tongkonan, the picture that is usually used to represent Toraja is their cave burial site called Tampang Allo. Located in Sangalla’, it is characterized by suspended coffins and carved wooden effigies called tau tau, placed strategically in the cave to look out over the land. Related to the death theme are Kambira and Bori’ Kalimbuang. The first is a complex of baby graves, where their coffins are hung from trees that produce white saps, a representation of a mother’s milk. Bori’ Kalimbuang, on the other hand, is a megalithic complex with menhirs used in traditional ceremonies.
Tana Toraja is blessed with magnificent natural landscapes, which means you get to enjoy the most of them while you’re there. Mount Sesean is the region’s highest mountain with trails that are fairly easy to follow. From Toraja’s hilltops, as you travel along the rocky ridges of Makale and Rantepao, take in the sumptuous panoramas lined by rapids and occasionally dotted by traditional houses. And once you’re back to where to you stay, make sure to have a taste of the famous Toraja Coffee.