A Little background about TORAJA LAND
Toraja Sample Package Tours
Tana Toraja or Toraja Land is situated 310 kms north of Makassar ( UjungPandang ), the capital city of South Sulawesi ( Celebes ). Tana Toraja is a mountainous area.The slope of the limestone mountains are covered with various kindsof bamboo, pine trees, coffee and many other kinds of tropical plants. The wet rice terraces and clove bushes also beautify the area.
The total area of Toraja land is 3,205.77 kms. According to the 1995 cencus, the population of the regency numbered 367,371 people living in two towns ( Makale and Rantepao ), and in 65 villages. It is important to note that a million of
Torajans live outside Toraja Land. Most of them comprise job seekers, University students, soldiers and business people.
The long drive from the lowlands to the mountain stronghold of TANA TORAJA opens up a breath-taking new world. The rugged mountains and verdant valleys are home to a people who love of religious spectacle is equaled only by their hospitality. With majestic panoramas, captivting villages and dramatic ceremonies, Tana Toraja is the undisputed highlight of any journey to Sulawesi ( Celebes ) - Indonesia.
Upgraded roads, an airport and several star-rated hotels have opened the Toraja high-lands to visitors of all interests, budgets and schedules. The essence of the Toraja beliefs and way of life can be experienced without undue effort, as many interesting sites are clustered around the town of Rantepao,easily accesible by road.
A few minutes from Rantepao, artisans at Kete Kesu, a model Toraja settelments, 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 ricefields, 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 ramains 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, accesible only on foot. In treks ranging from an easy day to a strenuous week, those with a moderate capacity for adventurecan 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 anobody to take a look the interior part of their houses.
The dramatic saddle-shaped roofs of Toraja Tongkonan houses 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 arnamentation of these houses indicate the family's social status, though increasingly the family and surrounding communicty perceive that status differently.
Toraja Weekly market is one of the most unique traditional market in Indonesia. It held once in every six days in several place in Toraja. The most colorful and biggest one is Rantepao weekly market. There are hundreds of water buffaloes and pigs are on sale.
Toraja boast the only place in the world where people give water buffulo highest value. The price of the best water buffalo in Toraja is now about 15.000 US Dollar.
Market is the real place to know Indonesian in their daily life. The costume, the products for sale and the interaction among people.
We always include the visit to weekly markets in the destinations we are specialized in.
Rantepao market will be held on the following days:
June: 7, 13, 19, 25
July: 1, 7, 13, 19, 25, 31
August: 6, 12, 24, 30
September: 5, 11, 17, 23, 29
October: 5, 11, 17, 23, 29
November: 4, 10, 16, 22, 28
December: 4, 10, 16, 22, 28