Religious Tourism in Toraja

Posted on 23/08/2023

Tana Toraja is famous for its natural beauty and customs which make it a favorite tourist destination for tourists both from within and outside the country. Apart from natural tourism and cultural tourism, Tana Toraja also has tourist destinations that many people may not know about, namely religious tourism at the Nazareth Sa'pak Bayobayo Holy Family Pilgrimage Center - Sangalla.


Sa'pak Bayobayo is a religious tour for Catholics and is claimed to be the first pilgrimage site for the Holy Family of Nazareth in the world. But visitors to Sa'pak Bayobayo are not only Catholic tourists. In fact, this tourist destination is visited by tourists from various religious backgrounds.


Based on information obtained from the management, Sa'pak Bayobayo was built in 2018. Previously, this 6 hectare area was the location where religious rituals of the original Toraja ancestral religion, Aluk To Dolo, were held. At this location there is an ancient burial place where the body is placed in an erong (coffin). Currently, many of the coffins have been destroyed due to weathering and the remaining skulls are then arranged neatly. In addition, there is an old well called Bubun Puang Sa'pak Bayo Bayo. It is said that around this well we are not allowed to wear plain black clothes.


Located approximately 7 km with a travel time of about 20 minutes by car from downtown Makale, Sa'pak Bayobayo is located in the North Sangalla sub-district, in Lembang Saluallo Lampio to be precise. The road to Sa'pak Bayobayo has been paved properly so that this tourist location can be reached easily even though the road is tortuous.


When arriving at the location, we will be treated to views of rice fields interspersed with bamboo groves. The gate reads "Pilgrimage Center of the Holy Family of Nazareth Sa'pak Bayobayo - Sangalla" against a backdrop of trees and hills welcoming guests who come. We will feel the religious nuance from the moment we pass through the gate. Sculptures of dioramas with religious themes are arranged along the route. The unique thing is, even though the diorama tells stories from the Bible, the statues are dressed in local nuances.


The main treat of Sa'pak Bayobayo is a circular path through the hills depicting the Way of the Cross. Along the way, we will pass dioramas depicting the 14 Stations or Stations of the Cross. At the end of the Stations of the Cross, participants will be brought into the Capel Goa Kebangkitan (Chapel of the Cave of Resurrection). Inside the cave is the final Station and a chapel for worship. The solemn atmosphere in this chapel is also combined with the beauty of the stalactites and stalagmites in the cave.


The procession of the Stations of the Cross on this route usually takes place at night. In addition to a more solemn atmosphere, lights are also installed along the path so that it adds to the beauty of the path. Along this route, it is surrounded by lush trees and karst hills. Like most areas with karst rocks, this hill which is part of the Ramang Ramang mountains has many caves that often penetrate the hills and appear on the other side. Some of the caves in this place are also used as tombs.


If you have plans for a vacation to Toraja, don't miss visiting the tourist, natural, cultural and religious destinations of Sa'pak Bayobayo. You are not only spoiled by the beauty of nature, but also peace of mind and heart. And while you're in Toraja, don't forget to taste the pleasures of Toraja coffee, especially coffee that comes from the Sulotco Jaya Abadi coffee plantation. Our coffee plantation located in the Bolokan area, Rantekarua Mountains, provides quality coffee beans that will make the Toraja coffee sensation you enjoy even more memorable.