Asia Journey travel blog

This buffalo is being raised to eventually be sacrificed at a Torajan...

Entrance to the graves at Londa

This is used to carry the coffins to the cave burial site

Blurry, but you can see the coffins in a cave in the...

The cliff face at Londa, in which caves hold coffins

Hanging graves - i.e. the coffins are on platforms hanging from the...

Entrance to the burial cave at the bottom of the cliff face


Hanging graves

These are Tau Tau - wooden effigies (likenesses) of the dead people...

Detail of the Tau Tau - pretty spooky....

Inside the main burial cave....

Inside the cave






The Toraja live in the hills in southern Sulawesi. Their culture is quite unique, from their traditional houses - "tongkonan" - to their beliefs (special gods), and in particular their approach to death and their belief in the afterlife.

The Torajans believe that you can take your worldly posessions with you to your afterlife. So burials included posessions. Theft of the burial items led the Torajans to build grave sites in caves hollowed out in cliff faces, and to "hang" coffins from the cliff faces - as you will see in the attached photos.

In front of the burial caves are "tau tau" - wooden effigies that represent the people buried in the caves. As you will see from the attached photos, these are realistic and quite scarey.

Torajan funerals are apprently very elaborate, lasting a number of days. Animal sacrifice is a large part of the funeral - pigs and buffalos. The more important the person who died, the more buffalos sacrificed. The meat is divided up amongst the villagers, and the buffalo horns and jaw bones are placed on the outside of the traditional house - so the more horns/jaw bones you see on the house, the more senior the family.

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