Exploring Tana Toraja: A Cult Of The Dead – Miles Of Happiness

The road offers magnificent views. I’m so excited about that trip, the island of Sulawesi looks gorgeous. And I am already discovering the Torajan culture, talking with Narti. She invites me over for the night, worried that I would arrive in Rantepao alone in the middle of the night. That’s fair. She is happy to practice her English and meet a Bule (Indonesian word for tourist), and I am always happy to meet the locals!

MRW I scratch a mosquito bite on the bottom of my foot

She lives with her husband and her mother-in-law in a beautiful little house where I will spend the night. The next day, after a grilled-fish-and-veggies breakfast, I say goodbye, and Narti’s husband drops me at my hotel, where I meet my guide for the week, Samuel. Who said solo trip had to be lonely?

on Tana toraja’s roads

Camera, check, helmet, check, mosquito repellent, check. I jump on Samuel’s motorcycle, and we’re off to new discoveries.

mosquito coil

Samuel explains me everything about his culture, we visit many charming villages including Ke’te Ketsu, Bori, Lempo, Londa, Kembira and many others. The architecture of the Tongkonans is incredibly beautiful -these traditional houses are shaped like saddlebacks. In front of each house, people hang buffalo horns to show how rich and powerful they are.

The burial sites throughout the area make for a good reason to drive around and enjoy the scenery. We see tiny baby cranes on a mountain, scattered bones in a forest, scary effigies and all kind of offerings for the dead -cigarets, flowers, drinks, umbrellas (?).

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