The Toraja are an ethnic group indigenous to a mountainous region of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Their population is approximately 650,000, of which 450,000 still live in the regency of Tana Toraja (“Land of Toraja”). Most of the population is Christian, and others are Muslim or have local animist beliefs known as aluk (“the way”). The Indonesian government has recognized this animist belief as Aluk To Dolo (“Way of the Ancestors”). The word toraja comes from the Bugis language’s 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. Religions: Protestant: 65%, Catholic: 177%, Islam: 6% and Torajan Hindu (Aluk To Dolo): 6%. 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 Doloto a largely Christian society. Funeral rites In Toraja society, the funeral ritual is the most elaborate and expensive event. The richer and more powerful the individual, the more expensive is the funeral. In the aluk religion, only nobles have the right to have an extensive death feast. The death feast of a nobleman is usually attended by thousands and lasts for several days. A ceremonial site, called rante, is usually prepared in a large, grassy field where shelters for audiences, rice barns, and other ceremonial funeral structures are specially made by the deceased family. Flute music, funeral chants, songs and poems, and crying and wailing are traditional Toraja expressions of grief with the exceptions of funerals for young children, and poor, low-status adults. The ceremony is often held weeks, months, or years after the death so that the deceased’s family can raise the significant funds needed to cover funeral expenses.Torajans traditionally believe that death is not a sudden, abrupt event, but a gradual process toward Puya (the land of souls, or afterlife). During the waiting period, the body of the deceased is wrapped in several layers of cloth and kept under the tongkonan. The soul of the deceased is thought to linger around the village until the funeral ceremony is completed, after which it begins its journey to Puya. Another component of the ritual is the slaughter of water buffalo. The more powerful the person who died, the more buffalo are slaughtered at the death feast. Buffalo carcasses, including their heads, are usually lined up on a field waiting for their owner, who is in the “sleeping stage”. Torajans believe that the deceased will need the buffalo to make the journey and that they will be quicker to arrive at Puya if they have many buffalo. Slaughtering tens of water buffalo and hundred of pigs using a machete is the climax of the elaborate death feast, with dancing and music and young boys who catch spurting blood in long bamboo tubes. Some of the slaughtered animals are given by guests as “gifts”, which are carefully noted because they will be considered debts of the deceased’s family. There are three methods of burial: the coffin may be laid in a cave or in a carved stone grave, or hung on a cliff. It contains any possessions that the deceased will need in the afterlife. The wealthy are often buried in a stone grave carved out of a rocky cliff. The grave is usually expensive and takes a few months to complete. In some areas, a stone cave may be found that is large enough to accommodate a whole family. A wood-carved effigy, called tau tau, is usually placed in the cave looking out over the land. The coffin of a baby or child may be hung from ropes on a cliff face or from a tree. This hanging grave usually lasts for years, until the ropes rot and the coffin falls to the ground. Society There are three main types of affiliation in Toraja society: family, class and religion. Family is the primary social and political grouping in Torajan society. Each village is one extended family, the seat of which is a traditional Torajan house. Each tongkonan has a name, which becomes the name of the village. The familial dons maintain village unity. Marriage between distant cousins (fourth cousins and beyond) is a common practice that strengthens kinship. Toraja society prohibits marriage between close cousins (up to and including the third cousin)except for nobles, to prevent the dispersal of property. Kinship is actively reciprocal, meaning that the extended family helps each other farm, share buffalo rituals, and pay off debts. Each person belongs to both the mother’s and the father’s families, children, therefore, inherit household affiliation from both mother and father, including land and even family debts. Children’s names are given on the basis of kinship, and are usually chosen after dead relatives. Before the start of the formal administration of Toraja villages by the Tana Toraja Regency, each Toraja village was autonomous. Relationship between families was expressed through blood, marriage, and shared ancestral houses (tongkonan), practically signed by the exchange of buffalo and pigs on ritual occasions. Class affiliation In early Toraja society, family relationships were tied closely to social class. There were three strata: nobles, commoners, and slaves (slavery was abolished in 1909 by the Dutch East Indies government). Class was inherited through the mother. It was taboo, therefore, to marry “down” with a woman of lower class. On the other hand, marrying a woman of higher class could improve the status of the next generation. Nobles, who were believed to be direct descendants of the descended person from heaven, lived in tongkonans, while commoners lived in less lavish houses (bamboo shacks called banua). Slaves lived in small huts, which had to be built around their owner’s tongkonan. Commoners might marry anyone, but nobles preferred to marry in-family to maintain their status. Commoners and slaves were prohibited from having death feasts. Wealth was counted by the ownership of water buffaloes. Slaves in Toraja society were family property. Sometimes Torajans decided to become slaves when they incurred a debt, pledging to work as payment. Slaves could be taken during wars, and slave trading was common. Slaves could buy their freedom, but their children still inherited slave status. Slaves were prohibited from wearing bronze or gold, carving their houses, eating from the same dishes as their owners, or having sex with free womena crime punishable by death.
At an altitude of 300 meters with views across to a huge mountain range, the Tongkonan Layuk Lion eco accommodation is a real traditional Torajanese clan house with a massive roof shaped like a ship’s prow, which belongs to a rural, but cozy village. Inside however, the traditional Tongkonan has been furnished to the highest standards to provide the perfect blend of tradition and comfort.
The orchid-shaped island of Sulawesi (Celebes) has a dramatic and rugged landscape with shimmering blue mountains, limestone hills and deep blue bays. At the crossroads of several historical sea lanes, the island was formerly a strategic trading port with the seafaring Bugies dominating the southern tip and the Toraja – with a culture based on animism – guarding the mountains to the north.
This ancient culture has been little affected by modern tourism and today Tana Toraja offers the visitor fascinating glimpses of a people whose unique customs and rituals have survived for centuries, and who, according to their mythology, are descendants of celestial beings from heaven.
The Tongkonan Layuk Lion eco lodge is the first first-class traditional house in Toraja. The two suites have Balinese style bathrooms and balconies facing the traditional Tongkonan village. Toraja handicrafts have been used to great effect in the suite, and it has international standard amenities.
There is a trekking in the surrounding hills, wild-water rafting on the nearby Sa’dan River and nice tours in Torajaland, which you can book directly at the Tongkonan.
Set high in the mountains amid rice fields, rolling hills and forest, Tongkonan Layuk Lion offers a heaven of retreat from city life – a perfect blend of tradition and comfort during your holiday in wonderful Torajaland.
Road from Makassar to Toraja
Imperial Hotel in Makassar The best Europian food in the world
Traditional boatbuilding near Pare Pare
Lots of shells to buy on the coastroad
Nearly all the houses are on stilts(Buginese style
The Landscape look as Bali, but than on one thousand meter above sealevel, Sawa’s in the mountains…
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Toraja houses,called Tonkonan
From Toraja back to Makassar
Proposed World Heritage
Toraja South Sulawesi
Date of Submission: 19/10/1995 Criteria: Category: Cultural Submission prepared by: Directorate General for Culture Coordinates: South Sulawesi Ref.: 290
The Tana Toraja Traditional Village is located in the Tana Toraja Regency in South Sulawesi. The traditional settlement consists of the Traditional Houses of Kete Kesu, Pala Toke, Buntu Kana, and Buntu Pune.
The Tana Torajan People can be traced to the great migration of population and belong to the Proto Malays, like the Batak Tribe in North Sumatra, and the Dayaks in Kalimantan.
The Toraja area was surveyed by Dutch Jesuits, namely Kruyt and Adriani at the end of the nineteenth century, mainly in terms of anthropology and linguistics. It was these researchers who first called the tribe the Torajans.
For the Torajans themselves, the word comes from “Toraa” or “Toraya”. The syllable “To” means ‘people’, and “raa” means ‘inexpensive’ so as a word, “Toraa” means people who are Generous or Loving. The syllable “raya” means ‘great’, and thus the word “Toraya” means Great or Respected people.
Meanwhile, the Dutch called the tribe “Toriaja” which means the Mountain Tribe. The word Toriaja survives as the current incarnation of “Toraja” and the indigenous names are not widely known.
The property meets following criteria for inscription onto the World Heritage List: 1. As an outstanding example of traditional human settlement or land-use which is representative of a culture, especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change. 2. Has exerted a great influence over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world on developments in architecture, monumental arts or town planning and landscape design. 3. Is directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding significance. 4. Meet the test of authenticity in its design, material, workmanship or setting and in the case of cultural landscapes their distinctive character and components.
In July 2000, it was nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List by the Government of Indonesia. The site has already been evaluated by an ICOMOS representative and the final decision will be made at the next World Heritage Committee Meeting in December 2001.
During the 23rd to the 28th of April 2001, a Regional Global Strategy Meeting on World Heritage Nomination will also be held in Tana Toraja with 8 South East Asian Countries participating. Discussions will be held on a more coherent regional policy towards the nominations of sites and how new categories such as serial nominations, mixed sites and cultural landscapes can be utilized.
Born in the Netherlands on 23-04-1940 and passed away in Bali on 25-05-2015. Farelli was the pseudonym of a remarkable man who was infused with an obsessive desire to create things that did not yet exist. Born in the Netherlands in 1940 Dolf Versteegh left his home country in 1990 in order to start a new life on the Island of Bali. Without any formal education he reinvented himself as an architect, as a designer of furniture, as a sculptor and as a writer.
As a teenager Dolf spent only three years in High School but he kept studying history and the natural world all his life and during his last 25 years on Bali he revealed himself not only as versatile artist but also as a formidable scholar of biology.
Farelli was a prolific creator of web content and what he has left behind will remain standing as a great monument to his creative spirit, his ingenuity and his never-ending search for knowledge.