Toraja, land of the Deads

Tana Toraja, a picturesque mountainous region in South Sulawesi province with towering terraces of green rice paddies, is about nine hours drive from Makassar (you can fly if you want to, but you’ll miss the road trip experience then!).

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beautiful view around me ❤
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see the buffalos? guess how much they cost? around USD 20,000 each!
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Tongkonan, where the Torajans keep their harvest

Please don’t miss-understood the title of the post. The reason I chose the title is because for the Torajans (people of Toraja), life very much revolves around death. Torajans do not save money to give themselves a good life, rather for a good send off in death. It is the extravagance of the funeral, not the wedding, which marks a family’s status. Funeral ceremonies are incredibly important to the Torajans and are often held weeks, months, or even years after the death of a person to give the family of the deceased time to raise enough money for expenses – a body is not buried until the funds have been raised.  (source: Ancient Origins)

Although there are funeral all year-round, the biggest funerals are usually held in the dry-season months of July and August. You can find different kinds of cemetery in Toraja. The rock cemetery, hanging cemetery, cave cemetery and tree cemetery (for babies only, where the family put their dead babies inside a big tree).

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Rock cemetery
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getting ready for a funeral
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the tour guide said they are “Romeo and Juliet” of Toraja…
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pile of coffins
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the cemetery for babies

I am not a big fan of cemeteries tour, but since Toraja is very famous among my expats friends, I finally went to Toraja and experience the “tour” myself, tho’ I always returned to my hotel before dark 😛

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traditional Torajans’ house: Tongkonan
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fyi, Toraja is also famous for its high quality coffee :<3
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look at my big sis’ face during our cave cemetery tour 😛
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hmmm…

Aside from the cemeteries tour, Toraja offers breathtaking scenery, fresh air and lifetime experience that one will never forget. Trust me!

 

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