Tana Toraja

A veritable village of tau tau stare down with unblinking eyes and outstretched arms from this impressive burial cliff riddled with tombs. The sheer rock face has a whole series of balconies for statues of the deceased who feel as much a part of the community as their living relatives. The site is located at the head of a terraced valley making the whole scene hauntingly beautiful, especially in the early morning.

According to local legend, these graves are for descendants of a Toraja chief who built his house on top of the cliff into which the graves are now cut. The tombs cost around 40,000,000Rp to hollow out of the rock, and can take several months of labor.

Nearby, expert craftsmen carve new tau tau for funerals throughout the region. They also have a few for sale (in convenient carry-on sizes) if you wish to take one home.

A Rantepao–Makale bemo can drop you at the turn-off to the burial site, from where it’s just less than a 1km walk to the village.

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