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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tana Toraja, fascinating culture and ancient traditions

Tana Toraja Regency (Torajaland, Land of the Toraja or Tator) is a regency (kabupaten) of South Sulawesi, Indonesia, home of Toraja ethnic group people. The local government seat is in Makale, where the center of Toraja culture is in Rantepao. But now, Tana Toraja has been divided to two regencies that consist of Tana Toraja with capital is Makale and Toraja Utara with capital is Rantepao.
Tana Toraja boundary was determined by the Dutch East Indies government in 1909. In 1926, Tana Toraja was under the administration of Bugis state, Luwu. The regentschap (or regency) status was given on October 8, 1946, the last regency given by the Dutch. Since 1984, Tana Toraja has been named as the second tourist destination after Bali by the Ministry of Tourism, Indonesia. Since then, hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors have visited this regency. In addition, numerous Western anthropologists have come to Tana Toraja to study the indigenous culture and people of Toraja

Tana Toraja (Toraja Land), a unique mountain are in the northern part of South Sulawesi, is one of the places in Indonesia which leaves a lingering im pression on the traveller's mind long after they have returned home. It is famous for its unique fascinating culture and ancient traditions, and is one of the world's rare treasures.
Most interesting are the grand burial ceremonies lasting for days with ceremonial dances and sacrificing of animals. The Torajan lay their dead to rest in graves and tombs in accordance with the tradition. These tombs are chiselled and carved in steep cliffs, stretching up dozens of metres. People have access to these tombs by climbing up bamboo ladders. In some of these tombs they put wooden effigies of the dead.
There are many of such graves in different mountains. Two cliffs graves easy to reach are LEMO and LONDA. There are many other interesting sights in Toraja. Like typical Toraja villages PA'LAWA, SIGUNTU, MARANTE' and NANGGALA where you can see the Torajan houses. The houses are beautifully decorated with carvings of geometric designs, and with buffalo horns that indicate the status and wealth of the family. You can also see how the Torajan make lovely handicrafts or traditional weaving in KE'TEKE'SU and TO'BARANA. This unique culture, the scenic beauty, lovely climate and gentle people are the main reasons for Toraja to gain prominence as a tourist destination in spite of its distance from any major airport and the long journey that has to be made.

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