Travel tips you can trust
Sulawesi is the home of the Torajans who have one of the more interesting cultural heritages in the world. The major tourist draws of Tana Toraja (Torajan Land) are the:
Burial sites (described below)
Torajan architecture (see page 2)
The Torajans intern their dead in chambers cut into high cliffs (see photo). They erect exposed balconies directly in front of those chambers for displaying tau-taus (wooden effigies of the deceased). These lifelike statues gaze upon passers-by.
Weeks if not months after the burial, the Torajans conduct a post-burial ceremony in their village. Its purpose is to honor the departed and appease his spirit. The event can last for days and encompass hundreds of guests plus many animal sacrifices.
Tourists can watch the event, if their request to be invited is accepted (which often is). The tacit stipulations are that the visitor view discreetly and bring a gift worth several dollars to help defray the cost of the occasion.
Three of the best Tana Torajan villages for observing the tau-taus and ceremonies are Lemo, Londo and Sengalla.