South Sulawesi


The Province

Situated at the crossroads of strategic sea lanes steeped in history, the province of South Sulawesi consists of the narrow southwestern peninsula of this mountainous, orchid-shaped island. The capital and chief trad-ing port, Ujung Pandang, is still the gateway to eastern Indonesia.

Spanish and Portuguese galleons, followed by British and Dutch traders, sailed these seas In search of the spice trade, escorted by their Men-of-War to protect them from the daring raids of the Bugis and Makassar pirates. Famed for their seafaring culture, the Bugis are still the driving force behind the world's last commercial sailing fleet. Bugis vessels have sailed as far as Austra-lia, leaving behind images of their ships carved in stone, and Bugis words which were integrated into the Aboriginal language of northern Australia.

The seafaring Bugis dominate the southern tip of Sulawesi, but in the rugged and remarkable coun-try further north is Tana Toraja, often referred to as the "Land of the Heavenly Kings". The tradi-tional culture of the Torajans rivals any in the archipelago, making this area one of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia.

Believing that their forefathers descended from heaven in a boat some twenty generations ago, the Torajas have a unique Christian animist culture .the majority of the people still follow an ancestral cult called "Aluk Todolo", which governs all traditional ceremonies. Their ancestor worship includes elaborate death and after life ceremonies, which are essentially great feasts. A strict social hierarchy is followed in the villages, and for an important figure wedding and burial ceremonies can take days to perform. Water buffalo and pigs are sacrificed In numbers appropriate to social rank, and the deceased's remains are placed in a coffin and interred in caves hollowed out In high cliffs. The mouth of the cave is guarded by lifelike statues, called Tau Tau, who look out from a balcony near the burial caves, watching over the families and friends they have left behind.

Tongkonan, the family houses, are built on stilts with the roof rearing up at either end, represent-ing the prows of the first ship to arrive in the area with the Torajan ancestors. The houses all face north and some say that this is because it was from the north that the ancestors of the Toraja came. Others however will say that the north (and east) is regarded as the realm of the gods, on the compass of life.

South Sulawesi is also famous for its tremen-dous scenery and the quality and talent of its silk and silverwork industries, but the economy is largely based on agriculture. The provincial capi-tal of Ujung Pandang, formerly Makassar; how-ever, has excellent facilities for water sports and is easily accessible by air. There are four daily flights from Jakarta and also daily services from Bali, Surabaya and Manado.

Other places of interest:

Ujung Pandang Clara Bundt Orchid Garden
Jalan Penghibur Samalona Island
Sungguminasa Tomb of Sultan Hasanuddin
Bulukumba Goa Mampu
Bantimurung Leang-Leang
Sengkang Tana Toraja

Ujung Pandang

Situated at the crossroads of strategic sea lanes steeped in history, the province of South Sulawesi consists of the narrow southwestern peninsula of this mountainous, orchid-shaped island. The capital and chief trad-ing port, Ujung Pandang, is still the gateway to eastern Indonesia.

Spanish and Portuguese galleons, followed by British and Dutch traders, sailed these seas In search of the spice trade, escorted by their Men-of-War to protect them from the daring raids of the Bugis and Makassar pirates. Famed for their seafaring culture, the Bugis are still the driving force behind the world's last commercial sailing fleet. Bugis vessels have sailed as far as Austra-lia, leaving behind images of their ships carved in stone, and Bugis words which were integrated into the Aboriginal language of northern Australia.

The seafaring Bugis dominate the southern tip of Sulawesi, but in the rugged and remarkable coun-try further north is Tana Toraja, often referred to as the "Land of the Heavenly Kings". The tradi-tional culture of the Torajans rivals any in the archipelago, making this area one of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia.

Believing that their forefathers descended from heaven in a boat some twenty generations ago, the Torajas have a unique Christian animist culture .the majority of the people still follow an ancestral cult called "Aluk Todolo", which governs all traditional ceremonies. Their ancestor worship includes elaborate death and after life ceremonies, which are essentially great feasts. A strict social hierarchy is followed in the villages, and for an important figure wedding and burial ceremonies can take days to perform. Water buffalo and pigs are sacrificed In numbers appropriate to social rank, and the deceased's remains are placed in a coffin and interred in caves hollowed out In high cliffs. The mouth of the cave is guarded by lifelike statues, called Tau Tau, who look out from a balcony near the burial caves, watching over the families and friends they have left behind.

Tongkonan, the family houses, are built on stilts with the roof rearing up at either end, represent-ing the prows of the first ship to arrive in the area with the Torajan ancestors. The houses all face north and some say that this is because it was from the north that the ancestors of the Toraja came. Others however will say that the north (and east) is regarded as the realm of the gods, on the compass of life.

South Sulawesi is also famous for its tremen-dous scenery and the quality and talent of its silk and silverwork industries, but the economy is largely based on agriculture. The provincial capi-tal of Ujung Pandang, formerly Makassar; how-ever, has excellent facilities for water sports and is easily accessible by air. There are four daily flights from Jakarta and also daily services from Bali, Surabaya and Manado.

Other Places of Interest

 

Clara Bundt Orchid Garden

Mr. Bundt, a Dutchman, has his private residence at No. 15 Jalan Mochtar Lutfi. His spacious garden is filled with rare Indonesian orchids and hybrids. He also has an enormous collection of seashells and coral. A visit is worthwhile and several of the collections are on sale. Mr. Bundt is registered in the Sander's List of London as an expert in orchid cultivation.

Other Places of Interest

 

Jalan Penghibur

Sunset in the Mekassar Strait can be viewed from a promenade at Jalan Penghibur or the Paotere anchorage in the north end of the city, where the Bugis schooners are berthed.

Across the harbour is Kayangan Island, which can be reached in 15 minutes by ferry. A popular escape from the city, there is entertainment in the evenings and on Sundays.

Other Places of Interest

 

Samalona Island

Across the harbour of Ujung Pandang is Samalona Island, which has been developed into a pleasant recreational resort. It can be reached by boat in 45 minutes and has simple accommodation. Recreational sports include diving, snorkeling, water skiing and fishing. Best months to visit are from February to October.

Other Places of Interest

 

Sungguminasa

Formerly the seat of the kings of Gowa, Sungguminasa is an old wooden palace about 11 kms from Ujung Pandang. Now the Ballalompoa Museum, weapons and Royal costumes are display. The royal regalia which include a stone, studded gold crown weighing 1769 grams, can be seen only on special request.

Other Places of Interest

 

Tomb of Sultan Hasanuddin

Sultan Hasanuddin (1629-1690) was famous for his exceptional bravery in his struggle against colonial encroachment in South Sulawesi. His huge crypt and those of other kings of Gowa are located in a secluded cemetery not far from Sungguminasa, About 8 km from Ujung Pandang. Just outside the walls of the cemetery a small fenced -off plot contain the Tomaurung stone on which the kings of Gowa were crowned in pomp and the splendour. Not far from the tombs is the oldest mosque in the area, built in 1603.

Other Places of Interest

 

Bulukumba

The Amandit River runs through Loksado and then joins the mighty Barito River. Visitors usu-ally use the river to get back after visiting Loksado. The river trip, by either bamboo or rubber boat, includes some exciting white water sections. The trip can be made in two parts. The first is from Loksado to Muara Hatip. The second is from Muara Hatip to Batu Laki. The first stretch has rapids ranked grades t to 2 1/2. The second includes rapids of grade 3.

Other Places of Interest

 

Goa Mampu

The largest cave in South Sulawesi, the legendary cave of Mampu is about 140 kms from the capital. In addition to amazing stalagmites ans stalagtites there are rock formations resembling human figures and animals, all of which have their own particular legend.

Other Places of Interest

 

Bantimurung

To the north - east of Ujung Pandang are the Bantimurung waterfalls, about 41 kms from the capital. A cascade of sparkling water gushes out between rocky cliffs into a stream shaded by tall trees. The brightly-coloured ornithoid butterflies indegenous to this area are considered among the most beautiful in the world.

Other Places of Interest

 

Leang-Leang

An important archeological site, these prehistoric caves have strange rock carving of hands and a wild pig believed to be 5,000 years old. The road leads from Maros through the cave-riddled limestone hills to the site, about half an hour's drive from the airport.

Other Places of Interest

 

Sengkang

The capital town of Wajo Regency is well - known as the center of Bugis silk industry, 240 kms to the northeast of Ujung Pandang in Soppeng a spinning mill produces thread from silk worms. Weaving can be seen in many private homes along this route. The finest silk is handloomed by village women, each of which can produce two metres of silk a month. Visitor is welcome to stop and watch, or make a purchase if there is any readily available. Nearby Lake Temple, is a tourist resort where you can enjoy boating and sailing.

Other Places of Interest

 

Tana Toraja

The center of tourism in Tana Toraja is Rantepao, 328 kms north - east of Ujung Pandang. Sitting 700 meters above sea level, Rantepao has cool, pleasant evenings. The entry to Tana Toraja is marked by a gate built in traditional boat-shaped style. The road passes the spectacular mountains of Kandora and Gandang on which, according to Toraja mythology, the first ancestors of celestial beings descended from heaven.

Two villages with easily accessible cliff graves are Lemo and Londa. Londa is one of the oldest hanging gravesites, in which are buried many members of local nobility. A large balcony is filled with effigies of the dead, the Tau Tau. Young village guides with kerosene lamps can be hired to enter the caves and see skeletons and old coffins. At lemo, burial chambers are cut out of the rock and several balconies filled with Tau Tau over look new caves being dug to serve as family graves.

Palawa is an excellent village to visit a " Tongkonan", or a burial place still warming with celebrations and festivals. Visitors are welcome but they are expected to adhere to local dress custom, and to bring a token present, such as cigarettes or coffee. Take a side trip from Rantepao Kete, a traditional village with excellent handicraft shops. Behind the village on a hillside is a grave site with lifesize statue guarding over old coffins. As roads are not always paved, it is necessary to use jeep or walk, even when the weather is good, (between May and October).

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