Inside Tana Toraja Funeral Rituals and More!

“Luxury Travel Insider explores Mysterious Tana Toraja Funeral Rituals of Tanah Toraja Highland Indonesia and more…”

Tana Toraja Funeral Rituals
Explore the secrets of
Tanah Toraja

Indonesia’s Tana Toraja is a land characterized by rich history and distinct cultural practices. Located in the highland region of Southern Sulawesi, Toraja or Torajaland is famously called “Land of the Heavenly Kings”. It is more than 300 kilometers away from the South Sulawesi Province capital of Makassar.

One of the uncanny features of Tana Toraja is its old way of life that has not generally changed in the last 100 years. Even though tourism has developed, this place has remained true to its roots. While here, you will immediately see the traditional Tongkonan homes, which feature intricate decoration and roofs that slopes upward.

These houses are reminders of the old Torajan religion called Aluktodolo, which was predominantly practiced in the highland before the coming the Christian missionaries. But even as Christianity replaced the old religion, people never ceased practicing traditional customs and practices, like water buffalo slaughtering and putting the harvest in carved barns called ‘alang’.

Visitors come to Tana Toraja to witness its magnificently preserved cultural rites and historical sites. One of the most unique things to discover while in the highland is the Toraja burial rites, which are still observed even in modern times. When a person dies, the body is kept for many years until enough funds are saved to organize the funeral ceremony called tomate.

The ceremony is composed of a week-long celebration with lots of ritual dancing, eating, drinking and buffalo fights mixed in. What was left of the dead bodies are buried inside a hollow tree, a small cave or wrapped around a bamboo frame and hand from a cliff.

A dead body procession at Tanah Toraj – Tanah Toraj Funeral Rituals

If you want to witness this elaborate Tana Toraja funeral rituals ceremony, consider a visit during July and August, considered to be the dry season and when most huge funerals are held. The drawback of visiting at this time is the rise in tourist numbers and accommodation prices.

If you want to avoid this, come to the highland outside these months. You will most likely still see a normal funeral at this time. And you will be able to explore the scenic countryside with only a few foreign tourists.

The funerals are public events, and are accessible via public transport. However, most tour operators and hotels in Tanah Toraja will persuade you to hire a tour guide. With adequate research, it is possible to find your own way to funerals and other notable sites in Toraja.

Some of the most notable ceremonial grounds, ritual sites and burial ceremonies in the area include Bori Parinding, Kande Api, Pallawa and Rante Karassik. The village of Ke’te Kesu’ is a representation of a Toraja settlement. The village is a great place to visit because of its stunningly decorated Tongkonan ancestral homes.

Aside from the Tana Toraja funeral rituals ceremony, Tana Toraja is a great place for self-guided trekking. The highland’s lush surroundings and fresh air will revitalize your mind and spirit. And after a day of trekking, you can just relax and enjoy the scenery and a cool climate while sipping a cup of Toraja’s excellent Arabica coffee.

Most international visitors make their way to Rantepao village in Tanah Toraja, where a wide range of accommodation and souvenir shops can be found. Rantepao is also home to Pasar Bolu, a traditional colorful market that sells various handcrafts and jewelries.

Wow! This will definitely be an adventure you’ll never forget. Will be in your wild story arsenal for years to come. So what do you think? Let’s hear what you think about Tana Toraja funeral rituals?

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