20 km north of Rantepao and approx 1.5 hour drive away, Batutumonga is located at the slope of Sesean Mountain, the highest mountain at Tana Toraja. It offers Tana Toraja landscapes beautiful view, including lush and green terrace rice fields. It is also the best spot to enjoy the sunrise.
One of the best place to enjoy Batutumonga view is Mentirotiku Homestay & Restaurant. Sipping Torajan coffee while enjoying the landscape from this place is something you should try.
Batutumonga terrace rice fields
Batutumonga terrace rice field
Tongkonan in between rice fields
scattered stones in between rice fields
lush & green rice fields
Batutumonga terrace rice fields
batutumonga (scattered stone)
kete kesu traditional village
Lemo, carved stone burial site
Kambira, baby grave site
view from Batutumonga
tongkonan for ceremonial purpose
Tana Toraja Regency is located at northern part of South Sulawesi Province. Since 2008, it has divided into two Regions: Tana Toraja Regency with its capital Makale and Toraja Utara Regency with its capital Rantepao.
The origin of word “Toraja” is believed come from 17th century from the term Bugis Sidenreng’ people used to call the Torajan people: “To Riaja” meaning: “people from the mountain / highlands” (‘To’ = man and ‘Riaja’ = mountain/highlands). Whereas “Tana” has a meaning “country”, so that Tana Toraja is “Torajan people country/land”.
In Dutch colonial period, “Toraja” was formalized by the Dutch East Indies government in 1909 and it is still used officially until now.
However, Torajan people itselves call their land as “Tondok Lepongan Bulan Tana Matari ‘Allo” which means “the round country as round as the moon and the sun”.
“Tondok Lepongan Bulan Tana Matari ‘Allo” has profound meaning and describe clearly the relationship of the communities, where the people unite under the alliance of local territories of native people and were never ruled by a single ruler/king. Each region is headed by a tribal chief.
This alliance based on an old religion named Aluk Todolo (or Old Belief). Aluk Todolo set the government system and social system of Torajan people.
Before the arrival of the Dutch colonists, the Torajan people often fight each other. But under the threat of Dutch colonization, they began to realize the importance of unity. In 1906, the tribal chiefs of Toraja association pledged unity with the motto “Misa’ Kada di Po Tuo Pantan kada di Pomate”, in a simple translation it has a meaning “united we stand, divided we fall”.
There are two important rituals in Torajan’s lives: Rambu Solok (the death ceremony) and Rambu Tuka (the wedding ceremony, rice harvest celebration and other celebration). Rambu Solok is a parade towards the burial. It has of two parts: the burial and stage show. During the burial they wrap death, decorate the coffin and carry the coffin from the Tongkonan to the Alang, and to the burial chambers.
The stage show consists of reception, music performances, dance shows, buffalo marches, buffalo fights and slaughter of the buffalos and boars. It could mount to a tens or even hundreds of buffalos, depending on the social status of the family doing the ceremony. This burial ceremoney is very important to the Torajan people, as family members from far away places go back home to be together with their family.
In Toraja, the cheers and delight of the burial ceremony is more than the wedding ceremony. The Semi-permanent Tongkonan houses are setup to be used as a reception place for the guests. The burial ceremony could be very costly, and take about 7 days more or less (depending on the situation of the host family). The number of the animals offered to the deity, the type of buffalo, the quality of the semi-permanent reception-houses are the major contributors of cost of a burial ceremony.
Notes for the tourists: the Torajan people do the ceremonies first and foremost is to fulfill their cultural obligations, not as a tourist attraction. So please do not presume that when during your visit to Tana Toraja there will be a ceremony to welcome you. And please calm yourselves if during your visit there is no ceremony at all.
The singer sang a melancholic song to accompany guests to the Tongkonan, Rambu Solok Ceremony, 2014-Dec
Semi permanent tongkonan at Rambu Solok Ceremony, Talung Lipu, 2014-Dec
Slaughter of sacrificial animal (buffalo),Talung Lipu, 2014-Dec
Buffalo as a sacrificial animals at Rambu Solok Ceremony, Palawa, Sadan, 2014-12
Semi permanent tongkonan at Rambu Solok Ceremony, 2014-Dec
the guest entering the tongkonan
The guest greeters lead the guest to tongkonan at Rambu Solok Ceremony at Palawa, Sadan, 2014-Dec
The guest greeters lead the guest to tongkonan at Rambu Solok Ceremony, 2014-Dec
The singer sang a melancholic song to accompany guests to the Tongkonan, Rambu Solok Ceremony at Palawa, Sadan, 2014-Dec
Semi permanent Tongkonan for the guests, Rambu Solok, 2014-Dec
Kete Kesu Village
carved wooden wall and buffalo head on a Tongkonan Nanggala Penanian
Nanggala Penanian’ Toraja traditional house
Nanggala Penanian’ Tongkonan
Nanggala Penanian’ Tongkonan (left) and Alang (right)
Tongkonan at Buntu Pune
Roof of Buntu Pune Tongkonan made of bamboo
Buntu Pune tongkonan (right) and alang (left)
buffalo head on a Tongkonan Buntu Pune wall
carved wooden wall at Buntu Pune Tongkonan
Toraja traditional house at Buntu Pune VIllage
A Tongkonan is a boat-shaped traditional house in Toraja where the nobles and tribe leaders live. A Tongkonan does not only function as a place to live, but it also reflects the status of the owner in the society. Only the nobles have the right to build a Tongkonan and to live in one. Commoners live in a normal house called banua.
In Toraja society, the nobles are served by the commoners who live near them. The commoners honour the nobles as their masters. The nobles have obligations to safeguard the commoners. The nobles are not to eat food if the commoners don’t have food to eat. In this hierarchy the nobles respect to the commoners.
The Torajan society is divided into four different classes (called Kasta). The highest class is the noble kasta, followed by the middle kasta, and then the commoners. The lowest class is called the slaves.
A Tongkonan is built with the help from everybody. It is built facing north, as they believe that north and east are directions for good life. Whereas south and west are directions for the deaths and the bad.
Tongkonan have a distinguishing boat-shaped roof. Tongkonan’s roof is different to the Minangkabau houses which have buffalo-horn shape roofs. This boat-shaped roof was influenced by Torajan long seafarer history – their ancestors were sailors from China.