The King’s Tombs In Suaya, Tana Toraja

The King’s Tombs In Suaya, Tana Toraja

After our lunch we set out to take a look at Suaya, which is another unique burial site in the Tana Toraja region. This place is situated in the middle of a small kampung far out in the Torajan countryside. Located here are the tombs of the royal family of Sangalla, which are similarly to the graves in Lemo, also buried in a high rocky wall.

The difference between Lemo and Suaya is that the Torajan regal family, who lays buried here, did not allow any other families to be put to rest in the vicinity and this led to the low number of tombs in this rocky cliff. They were kind of selfish in that regard, but their graves are decorated with many old tau tau effigies, which are placed in the rock and have turned grey over the years. Ironically, the once powerful Sangalla royal family does not have much power anymore, and now the Lemo burial sites are much better taken care of. How the times must’ve changed.

When you approach the rocky tombs, you will walk up a hill and along some nice looking rice fields. In front of the cliff there is an old-looking, dusty, and rundown museum with several objects. The place looked as if it had not been opened or cleaned in years, so I assume these tombs are not a very popular spot to visit, which is sad to realize as it is part of the Torajan heritage.

While this site is inherently interesting, the lack of care and amount of trash scattered all over the place kind of deflated the unique historical experience of this area. There was also some graffiti on the walls below the tombs, which was also sad to see. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in some parts of Sulawesi and Indonesia, but regardless, I think this location is still worth a visit due to its uniqueness.

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