Toraja People

The Torajans are believed to belong to the same Proto-Malay group as the Dayaks of Kalimantan and the Bataks of Sumatera. However, there are many similarities ethnologically betwen them and the people of ancient Annam, from where they could have originated, migrating to their homeland in waves, crossing the seas in their sailing boats which set the pattern for their tongkonan houses.

Toraja People - Toraja Traditional Clothes

From early times, the society war divided into classes with the nobles at the top of the social structure and the slaves, who were either hereditary or enemies who were captured in battle, lowest ranking.

Pa'Randing - Toraja War Dance

The caste system warp widely practised in Toraja and consisted of :
Tana' bulaan ; referring to the noble class who functioned as adat chiefs using titles such as puang, siambe' and ma'dika.
Tana' Bassi ; the lower noble class of assistant adat or traditional chiefs or members of the community councils.
Tana' Karurung, the commoners, among them priests.
Tana' Kua-Kua ; the lowest class of slaves and workers, including the death priests or tomebalun.

Still practised to some extent today, the caste system is adhered to during traditional rituals, particularly the death ceremonies for which no one can aspire to rites intended for a higher caste.

The social structure allows equal rights for men and women, especially in inheritance for which neither sex nor age is of any consideration. Division of inheritance depends wholly on service to the contributors made by members of the ramage, kinship group at the death ceremonies.



History of Toraja Name

by              : Ravenna  

In former times, Toraja was called "Tondok Lepongan Bulan Tana Matarik Allo". The name of Toraja begin in used in 17th century when the Torajan Community making relationship in trade with their neighbours especially with Bugis-Luwuk and Bugis-Sidenreng Kingdoms territory.

The Toraja was word based from Bugis language ("To" and "Riaja"). It's word to named the community that living at that highest place.
"To" that is peoples and "Riaja" meaning upper side or mountain range. Because of Toraja territorial was having the place higher than Luwuk and Sidenreng territorial and constitute mountain territory.

Toraja Comunity

Continuity, at the beginning of 20th century, the writer Kruyt and Adriani (Europe) use this name. Although in their books, they said thisToraja comprises large territorial of center Celebes that covering Pamona and Kaili ethnic groups that having different language and culture, but according to history of Toraja, they're not. The trully Toraja, they're having the same language and culture, e.g:
- Pantilang territorial and its environs.
- Tallu Lembangna territorial
- Tallu Batu Papan ( Enrekang and Duri territorial)
- Balimbing Kalua' and Tokalambunan territorial (West and North Side Tana Toraja county)
- Pitu Ulunna Salu territorial (Kondo Sapata' Uwae Sapalelean or Mamasa and
its environs)
- Makki and Galumpang territorial
- Seko and Rongkong territorial.
All of above using the same language family and culture was Toraja Culture that formerly called Tondok Lepongan Bulan Tana Matarik Allo.

One thing that important to know, although Toraja ethnic groups having the same language but consist of some groups with their respective dialects, e.g:
* Kesu' dialect (Makale-Rantepao)
* Duri dialect
* Mamasa dialect

Anyhow, there is still some opinion of Culture Expert about the name beginnings.


Tourism : Trekking Deep Within Beautiful Panorama In Toraja

by                : Ravenna
category : Tourism/Places

Do you like trekking? If you do, try to visit Tana Toraja, a tourism destination with more attractive place for you who love trekking. If you just leisure this is for you too. You can found many interesting arts and local culture that Toraja have.

Toraja is located at height of 300-2884m above sea level, is a mountainous that consist of hills that are still original, it is the trees that form a dense forest, gardens, coffee, clove and pine, and also some of the hills rock/reef, with a terraces of rice paddies, a beautiful panorama. Besides, can be found also water falls, springs with the natural environment and the original source of hot water.

Toraja Panoramic Trek

tana toraja trek-very green views
Tana Toraja : Panorama-trek-very green views

Toraja is a destination with the charm of the original natural, quiet and calm. Far from the hustle and bustle industrial city. The natural scenery is beautiful with the cool air, aligning with the high mountain valleys variations that, in villages with houses on each of the customary back-ridge, is a blend of beauty that is not saturated.

Many tourists who come that resemble natural Tana Toraja with the natural Summer in Switzerland. High mountains in the West, there are mount Manglo (1775m), mount Sado'ro' (1894m), mount Massila (1833m), mount Ullin (834m), mount Mariri (1601m), mount Paling (2259m). In the North there are mountains Karua (1458m), mount Sesean (1584m), mount Batuma'rupa (959m) and the East are mountains Malanong (884m), mount Pedamaran (1494m), mount Gasing (1760m), mount Kandora and mount Sinaji (1669m).

Sa'dan river valleys sloping from North to South. Two city in the valley that is Rantepao (700m) and Makale (775m). While you do tracking, you will see object including relics of ancient graves typical natural and Stone tombs and graves in the tree that is just in some certain locations such us those in Lo'ko'mata.
If you lucky may be you will find the cultural ceremony that took place in the Torajans villages you pass.

Toraja's view Pictures, Images and Photos
Tana Toraja - Rice Farm

Usually ceremony of Toraja culture done in a certain period of time only, such as when the local harvest is completed paddies, at the completion ceremony of the Tongkonan (Traditional house of Toraja), or when there is a traditional ceremony in death.

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Levels of Toraja House

There are different types of tongkonans depending on the status or class of the group, as well as the area where it is located.

The tongkonan is built on three levels each serving a separate function. The 'sulluk' is underside of house where the buffaloes are kept. On the second level is where the family live and the third is said to be 'where the cat sleeps'.

Toraja House [Tongkonan]

The second level is divided into three parts.

The " tangdo' " is the northern room which is higher and reserved for the older people, like the grandparents and guests.

The " sali " or centre room is lower and is divided into the eastern and western parts. The eastern part serves as a kitchen with rocks placed to serve as a fireplace and a hanging tray used to store wood for burning.

The western part of this centre room is the sphere of the dead, where the dead bodies are laid out during the funeral ceremony. It functions as a dining room at other times.

The southern room or "sumbung" is the sphere of the dead and is used for some rituals. Otherwise it serves as a bedroom for the father, mother and children.

Toraja House - Levels of Toraja House
Toraja House

The exterior carvings on the wooden planks symbolise different aspects of the social life of the people. Only four colours are used in the decorations. Black which is associated with death, yellow for God's blessing, white means purity and red represents human life.
The buffalo and chicken-head carvings symbolise leadership and are found only on these tongkonan belonging to adat leaders.

As the tongkonan is costly to build, only a small percentage of the people can afford them. Others live in more modern-style houses.

Rice barns or "alang" are part of the tongkonan and are a proof of the wealth of the owner. It position be faced with tongkonan.
The lower floor is open and is used for family meetings and to entertain guests. The upper floor is to store rice and is made of bamboo matting. To prevent rats and mice entering this floor, the posts used to erect them are smooth round palm tree trunks, too slippery to climb.

Toraja Rice Barns - Levels of Toraja House
Toraja Rice Barns

The completion of a Tongkonan is celebrated with ceremonies and feasting, with the participation of the ramage who help contribute to the costs. No nails are used in the construction of a tongkonan, and the roof is mainly thatch.


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History of Toraja House

The traditional house of Toraja is called 'TONGKONAN'.

The Tongkonan of the Torajans is a kinship house belonging to a family unit. Made of wood, it is raised on piles with the roof rising on each end, like the bow and stern of a ship. High gables project in front and poles support the gable peak. The walls consist of panels, decorated with painted engravings of a geometrical design, the most prominent of which are stylized buffalo heads and bird's heads. Rows, of bufallo horns are attached to the front pole. Each house has a rice barn facing it.

There are several versions of the origin of the tongkonan house and its shape. According to some it resembles the boats in which the Torajan ancestors sailed up the Sa'dan river. As they had no houses they turned their boats into dwelling places, therefore the shape of a boat.

Toraja House
Toraja House
Toraja Rice Barns
Toraja Rice Barns

Another version is that the tongkonan represents the cosmos and the roof symbolises the sky. In keeping with ancient traditions, the front is on the northern side, as northeast is the sphere of life.

North and east are the realm of gods, and the front door faces this direction so gods can enter through the front door. According to Toraja cosmology, the earth has a head which is in the north and the tail in the opposite direction. It is taboo to build a house in any other direction.

A Tongkonan founded by an ancestor is where his or her descendants belong and form a kin group or ramage. Because of the ramage system, the Tongkonan is ordered hierarchically and a person's status is defined by the tongkonan to which he or she belongs.

The tongkonan is the centre of rituals and the social centre of the ramage. The name itself is derived from 'tongkon' which means to sit or participate in a funeral ceremony.


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"Where Toraja People Located ?"

category  : History and Culture

Toraja people inhabit Celebes Island-Indonesia, to be exact located at north side South Celebes Province that constitute large area mountain up to the midle of the island. 

Toraja People

In 19 century the Toraja ethnic group cover up 4 big culturated in group, they are :
1. West Toraja: Kulawi, Kaeli, Sagie, to Napu, to Besaa, to Bada, Rampi and Leboni.
2. East Toraja is called Toraja Bare'e at Poso.
3. Toraja Bungku-Mori at Luwuk, to Laki at Kendari and Kolaka, to Mangkoka.
4. South Toraja is called Toraja Sa'dan or Toraja Tae' it's covered region: Makale-Rantepao, Mamasa, Duri, 1st Noling river (Jenne Maeja), RFA-Lamasi and at onderafdeling Masamba.

Toraja Panoramic

Majority of  Toraja people located in mountain range, while inhabitants Luwu and Malili reside at through out beach area.
Even so, they have an equal language, custom or culture and taboo.

Nowadays, that recognize as Torajanese are ethnic group of South Toraja.

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