The word toraja comes from the Bugis Buginese language term to riaja, meaning "people of the uplands". The Dutch colonial government named the people Toraja in 1909. Torajans are renowned for their elaborate funeral rites, burial sites carved into rocky cliffs, massive peaked-roof traditional houses known as tongkonan, and colorful wood carvings. Toraja funeral rites are important social events, usually attended by hundreds of people and lasting for several days.
Before the 20th century, Torajans lived in autonomous villages, where they practised animism and were relatively untouched by the outside world. In the early 1900s, Dutch missionaries first worked to convert Torajan highlanders to Christianity. When the Tana Toraja regency was further opened to the outside world in the 1970s, it became an icon of tourism in Indonesia: it was exploited by tourism developers and studied by anthropologists. By the 1990s, when tourism peaked, Toraja society had changed significantly, from an agrarian model — in which social life and customs were outgrowths of the Aluk To Dolo—to a largely Christian society.
Today, tourism and remittances from migrant Torajans have made for major changes in the Toraja highland, giving the Toraja a celebrity status within Indonesia and enhancing Toraja ethnic group pride. Safely protected beyond the lofty mountains and rugged granite cliffs of the central highlands of the island of Sulawesi, are the Toraja people who live in valleys that are lush with green rice terraces and fertile coffee plantations. "Discovered" and opened to the world from their long isolation only since the beginning of the last century, the Toraja today still adhere to their age-old beliefs, rituals and traditions, although many of her people are modernized or have embraced Christianity. When one travels to the Tana Toraja highlands, therefore, expect to be awed by the spectacular beauty of nature, at the same time experience how communities have through the ages sustained their beliefs and traditions in splendid isolation in order to survive this eternal cycle of life and death on earth.
The road from Makassar to Toraja runs along the coast for about 130 km's and then hits the mountains. After the entrance to Tana Toraja at the market village of Mebali one enters a majestic landscape of giant, gray granites and stones and blue mountains afar that form a sharp contrast with the lively green of the fertile, rain-fed terraces and the rusty red of the tropical soil. This is Tana Toraja, one of the most splendid areas in Indonesia. Here, the nobility of Toraja are believed to be descendents of heavenly beings who came down by a heavenly stairway to live here on earth in this beautiful landscape. And to keep up the energy of the land and its people, the Toraja people believe that these must be sustained through rituals that celebrate both life and death, which are attached to the agricultural seasons. Here rituals in connection with life are strictly separated from death rites. Toraja is most well known for its elaborate funeral ceremonies that can take days and involve entire villages.
These are not only moments for mourning but are moreover events to renew family ties and to ensure continued unity among villages and communities. Death ceremonies, however, are held only after the last rice harvest is in and cleared, which is normally between July to September, while ceremonies celebrating life are held in conjunction with the planting season which starts in October. These timings are possible since the dead are not buried immediately but are kept for months, sometimes for years, in the ancestral house until time and funds allow for a proper funeral. Tourists to Toraja, therefore, are either attracted by its unique culture and rituals, most of which are mostly centered around graves and death ceremonies. While others prefer to avoid the morbid images and go trekking through the spectacular, almost untouched Toraja countryside visiting remote villages, or exhilarate in rafting the Sa'dan river rapids. Capital of Toraja is Makale but visitors usually head to the town of Rantepao, heart of Tana Toraja - the Land of the Toraja people.
To reach Toraja take a plane to Makassar. There are daily flights from Jakarta and Bali and regular flights from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. It takes between six to eight hours by road to reach Toraja. While the journey may be long, but you will be well awarded with the magnificent panoroma of the Toraja highlands.
DAY 01 : MAKASSAR AIRPORT – PARE PARE- TORAJA (L.D)
After meeting service upon arrival at the airport, We take an eight-hour drive up to Tana Toraja passing through Bugis villages with a few stop on the way including visiting the interior of the bugis houses which built on stilt. Stop by Pare-pare to enjoy lunch at a beautiful sea-food restaurant located up on a hill with sea view. Afternoon, refreshment stop at Bambapuang to see the erotic mountain of Buntu Kabobong and enjoy some local cakes with traditional coffee or tea. Late in the afternoon arriving in Toraja land, directly check-in at the hotel. Dinner will be served at Monica Restaurant. After dinner back to Hotel for overnight.
DAY 02 : FULLDAY TORAJA TOUR (B.L.D)
Morning after breakfast, exploring Toraja: the Land Full of Surprises. First to Lemo, a cliffside burial site with effigies up on balconies. Then to Sangalla’ to see baby graves in a big tree. Visit Suaya, the royal burial site of Puang Sangalla’ where you can see all kinds of graves existing in Tana Toraja from the ancient to the present time. After lunch en route, visit the Ke’te’ kesu’ traditional village with rows of traditional tongkonan houses and granaries and hanging graves. Back to the hotel in the afternoon. Dinner will be served at Riman Restaurant in Rantepao. After dinner, back to hotel for overnight.
DAY 03 : FULLDAY TORAJA TOUR (B.L.D)
Morning after breakfast, We have another fullday exploring Tana Toraja; the Indonesia’s Mountain Eden. Visit Sadan village, the Toraja weaving center. Visit Pallawa, a spectacular traditional village with rows of tongkonan houses and traditional granaries. Visit Bori, a burial place with megaliths which are the remains of the Torajan ancient stone cultures. After lunch en route, visit Nanggala, a traditional village with thousands of bats up on the bamboo trees, and a traditional tongkonan house with a human skull on top of it. Afternoon, back hotel. Dinner will be served at Aras Cafe. After dinner back to hotel for overnight.
A traditional funeral ceremony which can be reached by foot will be included within two days Toraja tour. A typical torajan local fruits & live stuff market can also be visited during your two days tour in Toraja Land.
DAY 04 : TORAJA – SENGKANG – LAKE “TEMPE” (B.L.D)
Morning after breakfast, take a four-hour drive to the silk city of Sengkang. Stop by Bambapuang for a refreshment to see the erotic mountain of Buntu Kabobong once again. Early afternoon, check-in at the hotel. After lunch, enjoy boat ride on the lake Tempe to the floating villages. Witness the the locals doing their daily activities on the lake. Late afternoon back to hotel. Dinner will be served at Local Restaurant. After dinner back to Hotel for overnight.
DAY 05 : SENGKANG – BIRA (WHITE SANDY BEACH) (B.L.D)
Morning after breakfast. Proceed to Bira with some pictureque-stops on the way and main stop is lunch enroute. After passing through some typical villages of bugis-makassar. You will be arriving at the edge of south sulawesi island which is very famous for the local people who build the traditional wooden-sailing-boats at Tana Beru. Afternoon arrive at Tanjung Bira and Check-in directly at the hotel. free at leisure while witnessing the beautiful sunset from the Bira beach. Dinner and stay overnight at hotel.
DAY 06 : BIRA AT LEISURE (B.L.D)
Morning after breakfast, drive back to Makassar with a stop at Tana Beru boat-building center to watch the boat masters building huge traditional Pinisi boats in traditional way. After lunch enroute, we proceed to Makassar city. Evening, enjoy seafood dinner at the famous sea-food restaurant in Makassar city. Stay overnight at hotel.
DAY 07: MAKASSAR – AIRPORT – OUT (B)
After breakfast at hotel. A short city tour in Makassar city , visiting the sea-shell collection & orchid garden, fortress, sailing harbour and lunch at sea-food restaurant. On time transfer to Airport for your next destination (noon flight).
RATE PER PERSON IN US DOLLAR : USD 900
Package include :
private ac car based on minibus L-300 or Hyundai ( tours with 2 passenger can also use other luxury cars, we provide Innova & Avanza ), tour as per program, English or other required languages speaking guide, entrance fees, full board meals, refreshment, mineral water during tour ( Aqua ), tax & service and accommodation based on the above hotels mentioned.
Excludes : porter, airport tax & flight tickets.
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