Published October 3, 2022 | Activities, Environment, Family, Love, Travel Tips

Did you know that Indonesia has a variety of tribes and cultures across the islands? – Most of it have changes over to modern life, but some are still firm with their cultures.

Specifically in South Sulawesi, these part of island in Indonesia has four main ethnic groups. All of them such as The Bugis, the Makassarese, the Mandarese, and the Toraja. Through this article, let’s learn about the uniqueness of the typical Toraja tribes!

Toraja Tribes


The Torajans are ethnic group indige­nous to the mountainous Pangala region of Indonesia’s South Sulawesi, about 800-km northeast of Bali. The word “Toraja” comes from the Buginese language term to riaja, meaning “people of the uplands”. The nobles who were believed to be direct descendants from heaven will live in Tongkonan.

Tongkonan – Torajan Ancestral Houses

The word “Tongkonan” comes from the Torajan tongkon which means “to sit”. These ancestral houses stand high on piles of wood. On the top of it layered with shape of split-bamboo roof in a sweep of curving arc. While on the exterior walls, it is incised with red, black, and yellow detailed wood carvings.

Ma’nene: Living with the Corpse

The Torajan has a ritual known as Ma’nene that takes place each year in August. The bodies of the deceased (dead people) are re-exhume to be washed, groomed and dressed in new clothes. The mummies then being carried around the village. By doing this, the Torajan will be blessed with good luck and a long life.

However, Toraja people who have died are rarely buried in the ground. Instead, they were buried in family graves or placed in or outside caves. It is because their territory all surrounded by mountains. These caves are belief to be a places that bring the afterlife closer to the world of the living.

In fact, there are so many cultures that still unwavering in Toraja tribes. Hopefully the cultures of the archipelago don’t quickly become extinct following technological advances that happen nowadays. Visit Bali Safari Park to learn about cultures and wildlife of Indonesia!