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The road from Makassar to Toraja runs along the coast for about 130 km's and then hits the mountains. After the entrance to Tana Toraja you enter a majestic landscape with giant gray, granites and stones and blue mountains at a distance after passing the market village of Mebali. They form a sharp contrast with the lively green of the fertile, rain-fed terraces and the rusty read of the tropical l (...)

Most places of interest of Rantepao which can be reached in half an hour by car or bemo, offer beautiful hikes through the environment. The most important places are located close to eachother, so more of them can be visited in one day. It's best to start early in the morning with a visit to the villages which are the most far away and to return to Rantepao for lunch. The morning gives some (...)

Trekking through Toraja is rewarded with remote views over Sulawesi's breathtaking mountains and gives hikers the opportunity to experience the hospitality of the Torajan villages. Before you start a several-day adventure, it is recommended to first have a short trip of one day to estimate your possibilities. These trips can be done without guide. Basic knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia is (...)

Outside Parepare the road heads of Rantepao inmland and starts to ascend steeply, into the hills. Every now and then there is a nice view on the city below, with shiny tin roofs of mosques. Behind that is the sea with it's high rock formations. Houses are replaced by farmlands as the road ascends on a series of low hills, through picturesque villages and scattered fields with rice, corn and tapioc (...)

The steep hills of Makale, governmental center of Tana Toraja, are crowned with peaks of churches, while the valley is dominated by government buildings, of which many have motives that originate from the traditional Toraja architecture. Makale is expanding to the north for years, along the the road towards Rantepao, 17 km ahead. The city has seen the construction of several government buildings, (...)

The trip towards the west from Bittuang to Mamasa, via Ponding and Timbaan, takes about three days, in which you are walking for about 6 to 7 hours a day. Most hikers only explore the eastern part of Tana Toraja, but for those with time there is this trip as well. The view over the hills and the fierce rivers is breathtaking. The course demands a good condition, however a smoking guy in his f (...)

The Toraja area is clearly devided into two parts by Sungai Masupu with flows towards the south towards Sungai Sa'dan from the Quarles mountain range. The Tator Toraja live in the eastern part around Makale and Rantepao. This area is pretty tourist-oriented because of the many graveyards, the extensive burial rituals and good access. The Mamasa Toraja, which settled west of S (...)

During the first days of the maro, a rite that is related to the fertility of the fields, there is hardly any activity. People are just talking; they are practicing a kind of speech, which is seen as very powerful. The Toraja priests express a special 'higher language', filled with metaphores and repetion. The visitors are said to be spirits, which don't understand a lot of words according (...)

The death of a royal aluk is the start of the creation of a statue or tau-tau ('little human' or 'humanoid'). There are two kinds of such statues: tau-tau nangka, made from the durable, gold-colored wood of the breadtree (nangka), and tau-tau lampa, made from bamboo and cloth. The tau-tau are ought to be meeting places for spirit (bombo) of the dece (...)

Toraja houses give more than just shelter; they are very important points in the network of relations: the reference points which determine someones relations. People can be vague about their genealogic relations with far family, but they can also name the houses in which their parents and ancestors are born, and they can usually name some houses of relatives further away. They often remember the (...)

In the early 17th century, islam was introduced in the lower parts of South-Sulawesi. Before that the religious traditions of the Toraja and Buginese had lot in common. In the 19th century the Dutch adapted the Buginese name of to ro aja ('population of the mountains') for many of the populations in Central-Sulawesi, as well as those for the highlands of South-Sulawesi. Groups in Central-Su (...)

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