What to See in Tana Toraja?
A few minutes from Rantepao, artisans at Kete Kesu, a model Toraja settlements, produce bamboo carvings and other traditional handicrafts. The village itself has several well-maintained Tongkonan houses and rice barns. Visitors unsure about the propriety of tramping around someone’s village will be relieved to know that Kete Kesu has been converted into a living museum with the express purpose of displaying Toraja architecture and daily life. Other villages within sight of the roads, often sitting in an emerald sea of rice fields, display the Toraja penchant for baroque architectural adornment.
If the Toraja way of life is interesting, the way of death is a fascinating mix of rituals custom and spectacle. For the Toraja, the dead are as much a part of society as the living. At Lemo, cliffs rise precipitously from the ricefields like stonework condominiums. crypts carved with prodigious manual labor high into the solid rock house the mortal remains of Toraja nobility. Set amongst the crypts, the striking tau-tau, wooden effigies representing the deceased, look impassively on the world below.
At Londa, a network of coffin-filled caves reaches deep into the limestone hills. Visitors expecting a solemn, well-kept grotto are often shocked and disturbed by skeletons tumbling out of wooden coffins, skulls and bones arranged , to western eyes, according to some gruesome aesthetic. But the Toraja feels that since their ancestor’s souls are residing in heaven, ensuring continued fertility in farm and field, it is appropriate that their earthly remains be on display for the pleasure of honored foreign guests.
While the valley between Rantepao and Makale provides a glimpse of Toraja life, the real Toraja lies in the surrounding mountains, accessible only on foot. In treks ranging from an easy day to a strenuous week, those with a moderate capacity for adventure can experience authentic Toraja village life in charming mountain hamlets. Even in the most remote mountain villages, visitors are welcomed openly. Long accustomed to foreigners stumbling unannounced into their settlements, village leaders will generally allow anybody to take a look the interior part of their houses.
The dramatic saddle-shaped roofs of Toraja Tongkonan house are popularly considered to represent the prows of the ships that brought the original TORAJA across the sea and up to Sa’dan river to a new moutain homeland.
Tongkonan houses remain centers of TORAJA ritual and community life. The size and style of ornamentation these houses indicate the family’s social status, though increasingly the family and surrounding communicty perceive that status differently.
There were plenty more to see in Toraja Land, like a beautifull panoramic view from top of Batutumonga (Mt. Sesean), our famous Funeral Ceremony that you will not find anywhere else and other things. So you don’t want to miss all this beautifull and traditional thing, that’s why we said “VISIT TORAJA LAND, WHILE THE CULTURE STILL INTACT” cause we don’t know probably within the next few years, all of this will be gone!