Tongkonan: Traditional housing in Tana Toraja

The tongkonan is the name of the traditional housing in the regency of Tana Toraja, Central Sulawesi. (Indonesia) They are really quite spectacular part of the landscape and a major attraction of the area.The upturned ends of each roof are supposedly representative of the horns of a bull, but also contribute to keeping the house cooler during summer. They hold several rooms upstairs and usually a porch and/or other rooms downstairs.

Tongkonan are made using no nails, they are fitted together using a clever combinations of joints and fittings. Traditionally they also make rice houses for storage in a similar manner. The cow horns represent the wealth of the family.

In many cases, they are being left behind for modern housing, though recently there has been a resurgence of interest in these houses.

Preserved Tourist Village of tongkonan

Preserved Tourist Village of tongkonan

View from Preserved Tourist Village of tongkonan

view from Preserved Tourist Village of tongkonan

rebuilding a traditional tongkonan

building a new traditional styled tongkonan

children looking out from a tongkonan window

bank using the shape of a tongkonan roof

preserved village of tongkonan

mix of old and new

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About Pak Liam

Living, teaching and traveling in Asia.
This entry was posted in Buildings & Architecture, Indonesia and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Tongkonan: Traditional housing in Tana Toraja

  1. The Rowdy Chowgirl says:

    Wow! I’ve never seen tongkonan houses before. Great photos!

  2. Nice pictures..
    I heard Toraja residents keep the dead with them until can gather enough money for funeral arrangement…is it true?

  3. Pak Liam says:

    Correct, but not in these houses, but I will write a separate post for the funeral arrangements and places for the dead in Tana Toraja because it is really interesting and quite different!

  4. meanwhilein3 says:

    Just curious about how large are the homes on the interior? Thank you fro sharing

    • Pak Liam says:

      The centre of the tongkanan was a large room, often a family room, with walls and a slight step up at either end with small bedrooms. I took a group to stay at one in a home stay (but didnt take any good pictures of teh interior 😦

      I guess the centre rooms were large enough to sleep about 6-8 adults on the floor (side by side) and the bedrooms were smallish but large enough for a comfortable double sized mattress on the floor.

  5. panggawa says:

    tongkonan is amazing. great pictures !

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