Toraja History

Where Toraja Comes From

After a wondrous journey that moves you through interchanging sights of stunning granite cliffs, lofty mountains, and vast sea, you’ll arrive in Toraja. On this land, old ways live on. The inevitable stream of modernization and globalization does not diminish traditional values. Instead, new ideas like Christianity synchronizes harmoniously with local customs, making Toraja someplace special. It is also probably why Toraja is the only place on modern earth with living megalithic culture.

Enveloped by magnificent natural landscape, Toraja is a life-changing experience waiting to be explored. Split into two regions – Tana Toraja and Toraja Utara – 32 cultural villages stand in unison. Alongside their rich culture and traditions, Toraja also treasures abundant myth about the origin of its name. Buginese called the sacred highlands ‘To Riaja’ or a place where northern people lived (‘To’ means people, while ‘Riaja’ means north). People of Luwu Kingdom had their own way of naming, referring it to ‘To Rajang’ or a place where the southerns lived. On the edge of the southern peninsula, people heard stories about a royal descendant known as Puang Lakipadada who came to Gowa Kingdom in 13th century to find eternal life. Gowanese called hin ‘Tau Raya’ or the man from the east, thus the place was also known as ‘Tana Tau Raya’ (Tana means land, Tau means man, and Raya means east). Coming from various origins, the legends presumably lead to the name ‘Toraja’ as we know now.

Keep yourself in touch
Subscribe to our newsletter

Discover the Sacred Highlands Anytime

Visit Toraja