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Religion
Before the Dutch come to power in this high land in the 17th Century, there was no even a single word given for the name of their religion instead of the word ” aluk ” which refers that ritual ways and daily live activities that are to be controlled, without special instruction of how build a house, to plant rice, to greet boys and the head of the village, and the numbers of the buffaloes and pigs that must be slaughtered in every ritual ceremony.

One of the principal of this teaching is to apply ‘ give and take’ tradition among them. Blesses and curse used to come between the one who still a life and the spirits of his or her ancestry. The most prestigious ceremony in Tana Toraja is the death ceremonial. More than half the people of Tana Toraja are Christian. we still up hold and proud of Our culture heritage and welcoming the guest ritually.

Architecture
One of the most noticeable aspect about Tana Toraja is the size and the grandeur of Tonkonan ( The Traditional Houses of Tana Toraja ), raised on piles and topped with massive roof. The house are closely bound up with Torajan Traditional, one of their function is as a constant reminder of the authority of original noble families whose descendents alone have a right to build such house. The state of the Tongkonan also symbolizes the unity of the clan. It is the meeting place for family gatherings, and may not be bought or sold. Tana Toraja is one of the few places in Indonesia where traditional houses are still being built. and the skill to make them survive. The owners often live in the modern houses, keeping Tongkonan for ceremony and as symbol of the family status.

After Bali and Java, the third most popular destination in Indonesia is Sulawesi. Sulawesi island contains a great variety of exotic people, culture and natural wonders. It is another unspoilt paradise. A journey into the strange world of mysterious Toraja People is truly a rare adventure, made especially eerie by their hauting tombs – holes carved out of sheer rock faces guarded by wooden effigies that stare out across the jungle.

Toraja Land, is known for its unique culture and ancient traditions. The center of tourism is Rantepao, 328 km from Makassar by road (about 8 hours).

The entry to Tana Toraja is marked by a gate built in traditional boat-shaped architecture. The road passes through the mountains of Kandora and Gandang on which, according to Toraja mythology, the first ancestors of celestial beings descended from heaven. The majority of the people still follows an ancestral cult called “Aluk Todolo” which governs all traditional ceremonies.

Torajan culture is a complex blend of ancestor worship and animistic beliefs where rituals for the dead are colorful festivals to pave the way for the soul’s entry into the hereafter. This unique culture, the scenic beauty, cool climate and gentle people are the main reason that Toraja is gaining popularity as a tourist destination. For many visitors, Toraja will linger in their mind as a land steeped in mystery, magic and ancient traditions. It is one of the world’s rare cultural treasures.

toraja-house Symbolized in mythology as the land of heavenly kings, its boat-shaped houses face north in honor of the deities. Their traditional house called Tongkonan are related to the settlers who converted their boats into houses, and set the pattern of present-day community life. There is a belief that early settlers came by boats and converted the boats into houses. The houses are beautifully decorated with carvings and geometric designs. The number of buffalo horns hanging in front of the house indicate the status and wealth of the owner. Though Christianity and Islam have found converts here and modern trends have made inroads, traditional rituals remain strong, especially that of funeral rites.

The most spectacular of Torajan rituals are the funerals. For Torajan, a funeral is the single most important ceremony in the life cycle. It is based on a strong belief that the soul of the deceased travels to the land of the south and in this land of eternity, he will need all the requisites of everyday life in the hereafter just like when he was alive in this world. Funeral ceremonies are festival lasting as long as ten days with much feasting and entertainment. Animal sacrifices are made to ensure eternal life in the afterlife and to safeguard the descendants.

A funeral is a festive event for every member of the society. When the funeral is held by noble families then the ceremony will usually involve great fanfare. Buffaloes and pigs are sacrificed as an indication of status and as repayment for gifts received. This ceremony may take days, weeks or months after the actual death and the decreased is referred to as a sick man until he is buried.

Various types of graves are located in Cliffside caves, mountain ledges or in special houses reserved for the dead. The graves in Tana Toraja are made in huge rocks because of their strength and relative safety from animals and thieves. There are many of these graves in the different mountains. And some are well guarded by life-size wooden statues of the persons buried.

Toraja’s Social Life and Ritual Cycle
According to myth, the original ancestor of the Toraja came down from heaven by way of a star-lit stairway to live in this beautiful part of earth.  This myth, told from generation to generation continues until today where the people of Toraja believe that the star- lit stairway down from heaven is a  media for people on earth to communicate with Puang Matua (The Only One True God).

The name Toraja was first given by the Bugis Sidenreng tribe who called them  the“Riaja” (“The people inhabiting the upper part of the mountains”).While  the people of Luwu called them,“Riajang” (or “people inhabiting the west”). Another version says that ‘Toraya’ is coined from the word To (Tau= meaning people), and Raya (comes from the word Maraya = great). The two words together mean “great people”, or the nobility. Eventually, the term morphed into Toraja. The word “Tana” means land. Therefore Tana Toraja means the Land of the Nobility.

In social life, the Toraja adhere to “aluk”, – elsewhere known as “adat” which are traditional beliefs, rules and rituals prescribed by the ancestors. Although today most Torajans are either Protestants or Catholics, the ancestral traditions rites and ceremonies continue to be practiced.

The Torajans make a clear separation between ceremonies and rites associated with life and those in connection with death, since these are closely linked to the agricultural rice planting and harvesting seasons.

Funeral ceremonies may begin only when the last harvest is cleared and stored, which is normally in July, and is brought to a close before the sowing of the new rice seeds for the next harvest, usually starting September.  With the planting season come the ceremonies requesting for life, health and prosperity. The Toraja call these the cycle of smoke rising (rambu tuka) – associated with life, and smoke descending (rambu solo), associated with death.

The Toraja live in small communities where married children leave the parental home and start a new community elsewhere. Children belong to both the mother’s and father’s lines. Nonetheless they all ascribe to one ancestral home, which is known as the “Tongkonan” from both father and mother’s line.  The Tongkonan is the home of the don or patriarch of aristocratic families. As Don or patriarch his main duty it is to maintain unity among families, villages and communities, and ensure that ancestral beliefs and traditions are adhered to.

At his death, therefore, an elaborate funeral ceremony must be held by the family, which has become the distinguished event marking the Toraja culture. However, since such ceremonies require quite a fortune, funerals do not take place immediately, but only months or years after the person’s death. Meanwhile the body is wrapped in cloths and kept in the ancestral home.
The Tongkonan itself is an impressive large house topped with a saddle-shaped roof resembling the horns of the water buffalo – with its horns up at the front. This is unlike the Minangkabau house in West Sumatra, that has a similar saddle-shaped roof but is placed lengthwise. Roofs are made of palm or coconut leafs and the house’s wooden sides are beautifully decorated with distinct Toraja abstract and geometric designs in rich natural red, white and black. On its front supporting pillar are often placed a number of buffalo horns.

The Tongkonan are often rebuilt and redecorated, not necessarily because they are in need of repair, but more to maintain prestige and influence of the ruling nobility in the area. The rebuilding of the Tongkonan will of course be accompanied by elaborate ceremonies that involve entire communities – not unlike funeral ceremonies, where relatives bring gifts of pigs and buffaloes   One requirement is the building of a tower, similar to the one made for funerals, but here the bamboo pillars point upward to the sky, while for funerals, the pointed bamboos are planted in the ground.

Following small ceremonies in the homes, rice seeds are taken from the granary, then pounded, not by hand, but for this first ceremony, women loosen their hair and pound the grain with their bare feet. Baskets of seeds are then brought to the flooded fields where they are sowed in nurseries. When the rice plants have grown sufficiently, a ceremony called maro is held, to implore for a good harvest, but moreover, also to request for fertility, for health and prosperity of the family and the village community.

Note :
We will try to find out the Toraja Traditional Ceremonial for your other visiting if there any held on your trip period, but the information may knows upon arrive in Toraja, since the Traditional Ceremony didn't have a fix schedule and its not publish to public.

Itineraries

Day 01

Exploring highlights in Toraja Southern Area

Full day visiting : the stone grave with tau-tau installed on a high cliff balcony overlooking the green valley of the Toraja at LEMO, The royal family tombs at SUAYA. and then we continue on to royal family tombs at SUAYA. We shall then make a easy walk to see a giant-tree made as burial site for a new born-baby who died before teething at KAMBIRA After Lunch, we drive to The traditional carving village at KETE KESU and Natural burial cave at LONDA.

Day 02

Trekking Tour

After breakfast at Hotel (Personal Account), transfer to Pana visiting the old stone grave. Then from Pana you will start the scenic day trek. We walk to Kata which located in the middle of rice fields. From Kata, we continue via Kepe to the very old village Poya, where some still have animistic beliefs and who have been studied by European scientists. The next stop is at Perangian village, with many joyful children excited to see foreigners. We hike through a beautiful and rough landscape before arriving at our final destination Tinapu village, where we meet the hospitable villagers and feel the warm Torajan atmosphere where people live simply and are happy at the same time.

Day 03

Trekking Tour

After breakfast, we start our hike through the rice fields to the beautiful Limbong village and continue to Parinding where you will see many Torajan houses and rice barns. We will have lunch in the middle of the rice fields. And then we pass cacao and coffee plantations and beautiful rice fields before we arrive at the remote traditional village at Salu. Greet the villagers, have diner, and spend the night in a local house.

Day 04

Exploring the highlights in Toraja Northern Area

After breakfast, we are picked up by car to explore the scenic Northern part of Toraja. Visiting the stone graves and rice barns in the village Lombok Parinding, the megalithic stones in Bori, and the traditional village Palawa and Tinimbayo. Lunch will be served in Batutumonga, where you enjoy a beautiful panorama view. After lunch, we drive to Lokomata to see the boulder grave. At Loko Mata we start our scenic trek of 2-3 hours through rice fields, bamboo forests, cacao and coffee plantations, until we arrive at Kayurame village, from where we return by car to Rantepao.
  • Air Condition Private Transport
  • Experience Driver ( Local Language Only )
  • Legitimate and Experience Tour Guide ( If You Choose All Inclusion
    Package )
  • Meals during Village Treks
  • Fuel
  • Accommodation during Village Treks
  • Accommodation in Rantepao
  • Entrance Fee and Parking
  • Meals (Except during Village Treks) + Beverage
  • Donations for Funeral Ceremony

Yes, minimum 2 person for this trip, but single participant also allowed with add an extra

No, Wheelchair accessible

No, stroller accessible

- Not recommended for travelers with back problems, but can join with your own risk
- Not recommended for pregnant travelers, but can join with your own risk
- Not recommended for travelers with heart problems or other serious medical conditions, but can join with your own risk

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    2 - 6 Pax
     
    Available Seats: 6

    Adult ( 2 - 6 Pax ) $403.00 /Person

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