This is how the “Orang Toraja” (the Torajan) names their traditional house: Tongkonan (literarily means “to sit”). On arrival to Toraja (by road), a huge Tongkonan awaits and greets everyone that passes the “main gate” of Toraja. The Tongkonan houses always point to the north. The typical roof of Tongkonan looks like a bow and stern of a boat.
Tongkonan houses are also often decorated with horns of water buffaloes, usually hung on the front wall (all walls are made of wood). Some Tongkonan walls are decorated with beautiful carved patterns painted in (usually) yellow, white, black and red, while some are not decorated at all (generally belongs to common or ordinary people). The wall’s carving reflects the social status of its owner.
There are a few “Tongkonans”. One is used as a place for saving rice barns (a smaller Tongkonan that is usually built in front of the house), another one for living and the other one for family meeting or saving a family member’s dead body before holding a traditional funeral ceremony.
The one for living normally consists of a few rooms. The first room is called ”Tangado“, which is for the children, the middle room functions as a living room and kitchen, called ”Sali“ and at the back of the house is called ”Sumbung”, which is for the parents.
Almost all big stones in every village that visitors pass through during their journey are used by locals as graves. Lo’komata could be the biggest grave stone people will find in Tana Toraja. Click on “Places of Interest” section for more information about Lo’komata and other grave stones.
problems, such as difficulties in reaching some places of interest due to road conditions, make trekking as a good option to move around, especially for those who like adventures. Cool weather, beautiful scenery of rice paddy fields, traditional Tongkonan houses, Toraja styles of graves, gorgeous mountain views and warm greetings from locals are the things that can be memorable moments for visitors.
However, it is recommended to have a trekking guide. You can arrange either for a long or short known trekking route in any tourist information service available in Rantepao or travels agents at the Hasanuddin airport in Makassar. Click on “Tourist Information Services” or “Transportations” to get more detail information.
Some main trekking routes provide accomodation options, such as in Bittuang, Batutumonga or Pangalla. It is always possible to stay with local people in their houses for a reasonable fee, particularly for those who choose the trekking routes in remote areas.
Both Sa’adan and Ma’iting rivers flow through Tana Toraja. There are several good spots for rafting. Rafting packages can be arranged in some tourist information services in Rantepao.
Please click here for further information about tourist information services.
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