The Torajans are an indigenous Austronesian ethnic group located in a mountainous region of Sulawesi Selatan, Indonesia. Alongside their rich culture and traditions, Torajans also treasure the abundant myths about the origin of their name.
Learn the history of Toraja, where its people have been shaped by the surrounding landscape and blessed with great longevity. In this land, well-preserved ancestral traditions are practiced within the peaceful communal society. Recently introduced ideas, such as Christianity, synchronize harmoniously with local customs, making Toraja someplace special. Witness the dramatic ceremonies, family bonds, cuisine and art of the only living megalithic culture in the modern world. Enveloped by magnificent natural landscapes, Toraja is full of life-changing experiences and is waiting to be explored.
Toraja’s nature, once it casts its spell, will eternally ensnare you in its net of bewilderment. Let the land embrace you and allow the air to sing you a melody of serenity. The beliefs that Torajans hold dear to their hearts are reflected in every handcrafted wonder, all conceived by the genuine intention that these products will be beneficial to their community and the world around them. Coffee and hand-woven fabrics are known to bear the signature taste and patterns Toraja is famed for.
1. Papa Batu – Stone Roof Tongkonan
The house was founded around 700 years ago and the roof is made of andesite and padas stones. Papa’ Batu Tongkonan is considered to be the last Tongkonan house with a roof of stone and it’s considered sacred by the people of the region. You must knock three times on the doorframe with your head before entering the house.
2. Natsir’s Organic Farm – Traditional Chocolate Making
Trees in Kambira were used as living graves for babies who died before getting their first teeth. This is because, according to the ancestral belief of Aluk Todolo, these babies are considered to still be pure and therefore cannot be buried in the ground or interred in a cliff. The trees used as graves (tarra’ and sipate) emit a white sap that represents a mother’s milk.
3. Tampang Allo – Cave Burial Site
After going down a fairly hidden track towards the mountains and crossing a narrow river, one enters the burial site with suspend coffins and graves carved into the cliff face in Sangalla’ called Tampang Allo. A well-known romantic lover story is buried inside and beautiful sceneries of rice fields, karts hills and other natural caves surround this cultural site.
4. Pasar Bolu – Livestock Market
Held every Tuesday and Saturday, Bolu Market (Pasar Bolu) is a traditional livestock market in Toraja. Dominated by hundreds of buffaloes up for sale, Bolu Market is the biggest buffalo market in the world. You may find various types of buffalo that are used by Torajans in several ceremonies, including even the most expensive buffalo if you’re lucky.
5. Bori’ Kalimbuang – Megalithic Stone Complex
Bori’ is a megalithic area with numerous big stone monuments or menhirs used in traditional ceremonies. Each stone represents a feat of merit performed in the past by a person of high status. Bori’ has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site and from the moment you step up the stones, you will feel like you have travelled back to an ancient world.
6. Palawa – Traditional Tongkonan
Adorned with ornaments of sun circles and rooster carvings, Palawa’ Tongkonan complex is a breathtaking sight. Fix your eyes on historical remnants of the ancestral war of the 11th century, with all the majestic buffalo horns proclaiming regality with every inch.
7. Sa’dan To’Barana’ – Weaving Village
Every weave and profound stitching can be felt by everyone touching the handmade marvels of Torajan fabric. Displayed proudly in amalgamation with beautiful rice fields surrounding the premise, ththe textiles are essentially pieces of souls of the ancestral spirits that still exist until today.
8. Ke’te’ Kesu’ – Traditional Tongkonan
In this popular traditional village, you will see the impressive rows of great traditional houses and rice barns, proudly showing off the buffalo horns of past sacrifices. Nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Ke’te’ Kesu’ will capture your attention with every glance.
9. Batutumonga – Nature & Village Life
Located at the slope of Sesean Mountain, the highest mountain in Toraja, Batutumonga is one of the places in Toraja to enjoy the ”Land Above The Clouds,” including the panorama of Rantepao City. Beautiful homestays in Sesean Suloara’ Tourism Village are ready to welcome those who want to experience living with locals and spending the night amongst the sounds of nature.
10. Lemo – Cliff Burial Site
A burial site comprised of a commanding karst cliff that blends beautifully with the surrounding vegetation and rice fields. This burial site is estimated to date back to the 16th century and you will see several Tau Tau (wooden statues) craftsmen who have sold these figurines at this site for generations.
11. Londa – Cave & Cliff Burial Site
Londa is a sight to see, with its panorama of a rice field at the foot of a large cliff face dotted with graves, coffins, and large hanging vines. Explore the beauty of the natural cave walls with an interesting love story waiting to be told.
12. Burake – Religious & Nature Site
The Burake Jesus Statue stands 40 meters high (131 feet) and is claimed to be a statue of Jesus located at the highest elevation in the world. From this large statue, you can overlook the city of Makale and enjoy the breeze. Additionally, you can explore the majestic karst clusters surrounding the statue.
13. Lolai – Nature Site
Popularly known as the Land Above the Clouds. With views over an expanse of clouds like white cotton, you will get a sensation of being above the clouds. While waiting for the sunrise, white clouds gather close to your feet, creating an irreplaceable experience. You also can taste Torajan coffee while enjoying a panoramic view of the sunrise.