Tana Toraja, An Ethnic Group Indigenous To A Mountainous Region Of South Sulawesi

In South Sulawesi province there is a district called Toraja or Tana Toraja (Toraja Land). It is a highland inhabited by its people who have unique and interesting traditions. The district is located in the northern part of South Sulawesi. By bus, it takes about eight hours to get to Tana Toraja from Makassar, the capital city of South Sulawesi.

There are four tribal ethnics in South Sulawesi: the Buginese, Makassarese, Mandarese, and Torajanese. Unlike the other ethnics that are Muslims, the Torajanese are mostly Christians. Tana Toraja is a land which is famous for its natural and cultural attractions including its traditional cultures and ceremonies, and houses with a unique shape (the Tongkonan houses).

Tongkonan houses, Toraja tribe
Tongkonan houses, Toraja tribe (Source : lombokmarine.com)

There are many tourist objects and places of interest found in Tana Toraja, and to get to each tourist place, you can use the local public transport or minivans called “pete-pete”. Tourists can enjoy looking at a Torajanese traditional house fully made of wood and having a bull-horn-shaped roof. The house is also fully decorated with beautiful carvings. It is very interesting to watch a buffalo fight and a funeral ceremony where people slaughter many buffalos and pigs to respect the dead.

Souvenirs are sold mainly in Rantepao, the capital city of  Tana Toraja, and they are mostly handicrafts which are made of wood. The wooden handicrafts include model houses of Tongkonan, various carvings, and buffalo statues.

Tana Toraja burials
Tana Toraja burials (Source : thevintagenews.com)

Hotels and inns are mostly available in Rantepao. Generally, the hotels and inns are relatively cheap. Air conditioning is usually not needed because Tana Toraja (Toraja Land) has cool weather. Tana Toraja is also very famous for its high quality coffee and coffee beans that have been exported to many countries. Tickets to visit and enjoy tourist objects are generally inexpensive: Rp 5,000 for domestic tourists and Rp 10,000 for international tourists.

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