Land and people Toraja
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The name of Toraja is as popular as Bali and Yogyakarta among tourism society and traveling interests. The same as Bali and Yogyakarta, Toraja is one of the sub-ethnic in Indonesia having special character and is able to keep their ancestor's tradition truly Indonesia. The people should be proud of all these, when most others have lost their roots, which will be difficult to get it back. It is believed that while entering modernization, the non supportive aspects of the tradition will automatically transforming yet must be still on its color, although other religion might have been incorporated into their tradition, which will not make them strangers on their ancestor's land.

The People and Land

The name Toraja today refers the name of people live on the navel of Sulawesi or known also as Celebes island. The location is 400 kms from Makassar city, 60 kms from Port of Palopo on the altitude of 800 to 1000 meters above sea level. Travelers visiting Toraja using flight or sea transport to arrive at Makassar city then by land to the town of Rantepao in the middle of Toraja land. Researchers on anthropology wrote the people is called Toraja Sa'dan or Tae, to differentiate them from the Torajan living in Poso and Baree people living in Central Sulawesi.

The Toraja Sa'dan included those living at the area of Mamasa, the people of Rongkong Pantilang Rateballa on the area of Luwu, east coast of south Sulawesi, and Duri people on the area of Enrekang. All of them have very close dialect and tradition. On wider relation experts say Toraja people is sub-ethnic of Bugis, that is the ethnic group that reside South and Central Sulawesi, studied from their tradition and dialect. In accordance to the Bugis tradition one of their king of Makassar declared himself as the descendant of Toraja. According to A.T. Marampa, a local writer the number of Torajan was estimated around 2 million people. The name of Toraja according him was originated from Dutch, who translate the word Toriaya as people from mountain. The pronouncement of Toraja by Dutch and the Indonesian Toriaya must be the same, because changes of alphabet was formally made in 1972 then Toraja is pronounce as Toradja by people outside Toraja. A.T. Marampa mentioned on his book " Mengenal Toraja" within dialect of Toraja are found the word " Toraa" and "Toraya" To means people, Raa means generous, cheap, hospitable, compassion. So it denotes generous and compassionate people The fact that Toraja has developed into one of prominent tourist destination in Indonesia is just because of the hospitality of it's people.

Their Origin

It is believed that Torajan is the migrant from Asia mainland during metal age, as also other ethnics of Indonesia around 2.500 to 1.500 years ago This were the migrations from Indo-China which continuing until 20th century, known as the boatmen. Seen from the house it is very clear that Toraja house imitates the shape of boat and a pole of boat called sompa is also found at the from of their house, although they live on the mountain. On the area of Sidrap also south Sulawesi live people with the tradition like Toraja, and this people is called Tolautang or Tolotang means sea people.

Burial Tradition

The tradition of burial place with round long stone put upright stand place to tie buffaloes is called Rante. This is the tradition of new big stone ages known in archaeology as neo-megalithic ages and the upright stones is called menhirs or dolmens. This tradition was found in Europe such as in France, Sweden and England. Traditional believe of Torajan is called Aluk Todolo, Aluk means guidance, Todolo means the first grand mother. It describes about the creation of universe and its content, the separation between earth and sky. The separation created light and the sky bring the character of male, and earth as the female. The combination of these 2 aspects created first human being called "Datu Laukku" That's why new born baby will cry "ukku.. ukku", she/he call the Datu Laukku. In case the baby can't cry "ukku" she/he would mute for life.It is mentioned also in Aluk Todolo the tradition after the birth of first human being that various living beings and experts in the various aspects of life also born. The connection between sky and earth was facilitated by a tower called Eran Dilangi. Human beings can reach the nature of god ( Puang Matua through this tower bridge, and it was going well until the first human sin done to the heaven, when a Saratu the trusted Puang Matua, stole the golden matches of the sky. This accident caused the bridge between sky and earth deconstructed, and the connection can only be done through sacrifice of chicken and pigs. Puang Matua give authority then to Puang Titanan Talluy or the Trinity :

  1. Puang Banggai Rante, is the god that controls the earth
  2. Puang Tulak Padang, is the god that controls the content of the earth
  3. Gaun Tikembong, is the god that controls the sky, wind and thunder

Whoever damage the earth or sky will soon be known by the gods and give the punishment in the form of natural catastrophes. Other god is Tomembali Puang, who gives guidance for death ceremony. Here Puang is the spirit of dead person that has got complete rituals such as Mrauk and M'bua feasts. Rules of Aluk Todolo quoted a small parts as follows :

  • Do not annoy the ritual of the death
  • Do not doing illegal sex
  • Do not trouble market
  • Slave is banned to marry noble family
  • Do not leave the house at the same time with contradictory direction
  • No thievery
  • Do not kill human being
  • No liar
  • Do not betray parents
  • Do not put feces in well
  • Do not torture child of pasteur
  • Do not take any material in the cemetery
  • Do not torture breeded animal

A.T. Marampa mentioned these rules up to 100 points. Some of various punishments, such as killing, the family of murdered take an oaths that will not do any type of connection with the family of killer forever, a slave married noble member will be exiled for life, an incest will be shown that they should be burnt to the as, but as change their cloths plus pig and buffalo will be burnt to ash at front of them and the people. The head of ritual of Aluk Todolo is called " Tominaa" from middle class, and Tomebalun from lowe class. The work on dedication no salary, no donation for them. This is a real good philosophy of human being to live with the objective as ruled by Aluk Todolo and it's functionaries which is much better than religions we know so far except the oversized rituals should be resize and the numbers be reduced if not united into one type for the same objective, such as the death ritual. It is well aware that all religions at the beginning basically use rituals as the educational factor, while more educated the people the more shifting to the philosophy contain on the religion. If the philosophy is found does not fit to the modern spiritual it will be discarded. Those religions that still live and use old ritualistic in the modern time will be legged behind even plunge into unending poverty.

Dialect of Toraja introduces polite and non polite words. Such as addressing with personal words you, me, they etc. The words are physically the same as bahasa Indonesia; you -> kamu, iko, but to whom kami can be addressed as polite is depending on Torajan, and there are different nuance between east and west part of Toraja land. Their language has great similarity with those spoken on west coast of Central Sulawesi called the "Mandar" Many words using apostrophes ' such as ta'de meaning lost, ma'rang meaning thirsty, mata'ka meaning tired, and no word ending with ..s, or ..r, such as Lukas they say Luka, Christus they say Krittu.

Social Layers

Social layers is also known in Toraja, the terminology of "Tana' refers to classes, such as Tana'Balaan the highest strata with the title "Tokapua" is the group of nobility that own bigger part of the land, leaders on various fields of life, various title are known such as Tosugi, Puang, Ma'dika, Siambe ( man ), Sindo ( woman ) and Pong. The strata of Tana'Bassi with the title of Tomakaka is middle layer also own land but smaller then Tokapua. The layer of Tana'Karurung or Tana'Kuakua, consist of 70% of Toraja people in the past they were slaves of Tokapua and this group is banned to marry the above 2 classes. Marriage for Torajan is considered an education for person to self responsibility. The decision for selecting partner can be among the couple or still in some degree the involvement of parents. The rule is also mentioned on Aluk Todolo. Kinship system is based on both father and mother line. So a newly wed couple can sty at wife's parent house for some times and at husband parent's house for the rest until they can build their own house. The most ideal marriage for Toraja people is monogamy, although in the past the nobility often found to do polygamy.

Program for visiting Tana Toraja has been freely available and one of the most popular one can be read here the land of Toraja

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Garis Bali


Among various tour packages and tour options in Bali there are some tours which can be said always on the publications and interest a large part of travellers to Bali. Kintamani mountain tour sits at the first number as the most popular sightseeing tour, second is Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot tour, third is Uluwatu temple tour.

  1. Kintamani tour bring combination of watching barong dance, beautiful temple architecture, beautiful natural views, dance, carving, accessories and painting bul see description
  2. Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot temples are two historical heritages from 17th, Taman Ayun palace temple which is always found near palaces of Balinese king starting 18th century bul see description
  3. Uluwatu temple located on steep drop cliff on the southernmost tip of Bali island. bul see description