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.
ITINERARY 05 DAYS 04 NIGHTS EXOTIC TORAJA TOURS
DAY 01 : MAKASSAR AIRPORT – TORAJA (L.D)
Upon arrival at Hasanuddin Airport, Meeting Service with your Guide. Transfer directly to Toraja Land with 08 hours drive takes across the Bugis Village with their houses on poles along the magnificent mountaionous ranges. Lunch will be served at Kupa Beach Restaurant near Pare-Pare, a small port situated 155 kms north of Makassar. Refreshment at the Hill-Top of Puncak Lakawan and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Erotic mountain. Late Afternoon Arrive in Toraja Land , check-in to Hotel. Dinner will be served at Monica Restaurant. Back to hotel for overnight.
DAY 02 : TORAJA TOUR (B.L.D)
Breakfast at hotel. 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, Natural burial cave at LONDA. The typical village at NANGGALA with 16 rice-barns standing in a raw as a sign of their wealthy status in Toraja community. Then continue on to visit the ancient house-grave at MARANTE village. Late afternoon back to hotel. Dinner will be served at Riman Restaurant. After dinner back to hotel for overnight.
DAY 03 : TORAJA TOUR (B.L.D)
Breakfast at hotel. Full day visiting ; the Traditional Toraja village with full buffalo horns in front of their houses at PALAWA, Traditional weaving village at SA’DAN, and the ancient Megalithic stone at BORI. Lunch will be served at local restaurant on the slope of Mount Sesean where you can also enjoy the terraced rice-fields with a fascinating mountainous view at BATUTUMONGA, After lunch, take a small trek from LOKOMATA to PANA and will be picked at the other side of the village at TIKALA then we transfer you back to hotel. Dinner will be served at Aras Cafe. Note : A traditional funeral ceremony which can be reached by foot will be included within this tour. A typical torajan local fruits & live stuff market can also be visited during your two days tour in Toraja.
DAY 04 : TORAJA SENGKANG TOUR (B.L.D)
Breakfast at hotel. Leaving Toraja Land for Sengkang via Palopo. Lunch enroute at local restaurant. Arrive in Sengkang. Check-in to hotel for overnight. Dinner will be served at Local Restaurant. After dinner back to hotel for overnight. DAY 05: SENGKANG – LAKE TEMPE – MAKASSAR (B.L.D) After breakfast at hotel. Visting Lake TEMPE of Sengkang to see the way of life of those who live at the lakeside with some of them having their floating houses on it.Visiting the traditional silk weaving villagers who make Silk Sarong “The Buginese Skirt”. Lunch enoute at Local restaurant. And proceed to UjungPandang Airport for your next destination.
RATE PER PERSON IN US DOLLAR : USD 650
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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