Favorite thing: The Toraja area, its traditions and peoples are quite amazing but perhaps my fondest memory is the story behind the tree graves used to bury children. It is said that children who die before they have teeth are not yet fully part of this world. So these children are buried in a particular soft-wood tree. A hole is carved in the tree, and the tiny wrapped body is placed inside. A 'gate' is nailed shut over the opening of the 'grave'. As the tree grows and repairs itself, the gate falls off, and eventually the hole closes in on itself leaving a small vertical cleft in the tree. It is said that the child has been taken back into the womb. There are a couple of sites where tourists can view these amazing trees and visualise the story. In Sangulla there are a few of these trees and the locals are trying to preserve them.
The introduction of wet-rice cultivation in Tanah Toraja after the Dutch conquest has sculpted and terraced the slopes of the steep mountain sides, with streams originating near the hilltops harnessed to flow in a succession of little waterfalls before escaping once more into natural rivers below ... I always get excited again and again enjoying these bright green, gold, rice padi fields ...
Fondest memory: Ofcourse the best memory go with the cave-tombs, but the rice padi fields I cannot get out of my head when returned to Holland ... yep... I always do miss the rice-growing, the people on the rice padi fields, the rice-culture around ... and for now the saddle-roofed rice-barns included.
I don't know why I am so dedicated to "grandma's", for every old woman my deep respect rise for their state. Maybe of their wisdom, maybe of their memorized tellings I always seek for their existence and, lure on my friends to sit down... and listen to grandma ...
Fondest memory: Just met "grandma" in Siguntu, better the TAU-TAU effigy of her image, in Ke'te Kesu' I got attrected to a noble grandma, talking to her in my best Bahasa Indonesian at her beautiful Tongkonan. She replied in a willing way and invited me to sit down at the balcony in the sunshine. A great experience, and a sweet memory ...
The area is beautiful with terraced rice paddies, traditional soaring roof houses and elaborate new house or funeral ceremonies to which tourists are welcome. The houses are still being built and lived in. I arrived on my own (9 hour bus ride from Makassar) and intended to tour independently. I was approached by a guide and finally decided to go with him. I don't regret this decision because I had only 3 days in the area. With a much longer stay ( and some knowledge of Indonesian) you could get to villages and grave sites on your own, but this would take lots of time and it is very hot in the afternoon! An air conditioned vehicle and a good English speaking guide is a good investment. I'd recommend my guide: Hendrik Sampe (email@example.com) c/o Mart's Cafe, Jl. Ratulangi #44 A, phone from outside the country: 0062342219613 or call Mart's Cafe in Rantepao : 0423-25732.
Fondest memory: I enjoyed the friendliness of the people (each evening I was invited to come to a cafe with my guide and his friends and listen to them sing and play guitar). It was also a pleasure being in a place where tourism hasn't affected the daily rhythm of things.
Favorite thing: Situated at Sesean Highland about 1,300 metres above sea level. And has 56 obelisks circled with 5 trees at the centre [euhh, like Stone Henge in England?!]. The scenery from the top of this place is awesome!!
Favorite thing: Literally means ‘citrus’ [in Indonesian lingo says as 'limau' and local accent in Java and Ambon said as 'limo'], since the type of the grave which situated at the rocky cliff is rounded and stands from 75 units. Had balcony for Tau Tau [representation of the dead bodies who buried here] and stated from 40 statues. Open since 1960.
Favorite thing: Situated 4 km from Rantepao in Bonoran village and famous worldwide since 1979. Noted as Cagar Budaya [National Heritage] number 290. And has original Tongkonan with their rice barns called alang sura' or lumbung padi. Their ancestor known as Puang ri Kesu' which made daily rules and living in harmony among the neighbors and family. This rules addressed as Aluk Sanda Pitunna (7777). This place competed with funeral ceremony place called rante and the graveyard called liang.
Based on a legend about a man, traveller from Mount Sesean named Tomadao who married to a girl named Tallo Mangka Kalena from Mount Tibembeng. And they have a son named Datu Muane' who married to Lai Rangri' when he’s growing elder. They live in this village happily and makes a bastion. If the enemies comes, they kill’em and, eat the bodies and drink the bloods [ohooo, scary! Yuks!] called Pa'lawak. But in the mid of 11th century, the name changed into Palawa'. Then they decided not to be canibal anymore and changed it with chicken, called Pa'lawa' manuk.
Here are the names of Tongkonan at Palawa [based on the geniality of Datu Muane’], counted from the west part:
1. Tongkonan Salassa' by Salassa'
2. Tongkonan Buntu by Ne' Tatan
3. Tongkonan Ne' Niro by Patangke and Sampe Bungin
4. Tongkonan Ne' Darre by Ne' Matasik
5. Tongkonan Ne' Sapea by Ne' Sapiah
6. Tongkonan Katile by Ne' Pipe
7. Tongkonan Ne' Malle by Ne' Malle
8. Tongkonan Sasana Budaya by Ne' Malle
9. Tongkonan Bamba II by Patampang
10. Tongkonan Ne' Babu' by Ne' Babu'
11. Tongkonan Bamba I by Ne' Ta'pare
I don't believe myself ... when I move to Aston Toraja Misiliana as a place to stay before heading back to Makassar from Rantepao, I read my name appears at the sign board of the hotel. Make me so blue, like a warm welcome for my stay there. Thanks a lot. I feel like a famous one ;)
Fondest memory: I always miss this 'isolated' place which also tranquil, secluded and greenery. Even feel a bit scary for the first time ~ remember about hanging graves and buried caves ~ I can enjoy my stay here. Pouring rain when I leave Rantepao, as I feel my post holiday blues here too :(