For Torajans, death is not something that is scary. Death is not a point where life really ends. Humans only turn to other forms of life. A philosophy that underlies why only Toraja funerals really have an attraction.
Ancestors are buried in caves or on karst cliffs carved not in the ground. A form of respect for ancestors where they remain in line with their next generation. That is why a lot of ancient cemeteries in the form of cliffs or caves. One of these ancient sites is Londa.
Londa is located in Lembang (village) Sangbua, Kesu’ district, North Toraja, about 7 km from the city of Rantepao, the capital of North Toraja.
Londa is an icon of Toraja tourism that has long been known to tourists. In this location there is a natural cave which is an ancient burial place. The depth of the cave is around 1,000 meters. Inside there are thousands of skulls and bones, and erong (ancient crates). Until now It still actively used Londa as a burial place. Nevertheless the atmosphere in the cave is completely odorless.
In the cave there is a pair of skulls and bones that are identified with the story of Romeo and Juliet. They are a couple who committed suicide because their love relationship was not blessed because they still have a relationship as a close relative.
If you want to enter the cave, then there is a local guide that can be rented to take you to explore the cave.
There is a cliff where ancient crates are placed vertically arranged and supported by wooden blocks. The arrangement of the coffin placement is based on social strata, the higher the place means the higher the social status in the community.
Along with the erong, there is one place where tau-tau (statues) is arranged in a row. The tau-tau is the personification of deceased nobles. Ordinary people and servant groups are not made tau-tau.
Historically the Londa cave has been used as a burial site since the 16th century by two grandchildren from Pabane and Marin in Gandang, namely Tolengke and Topangra’pa’ who came to build their settlement near Londa who entered the traditional territory of Tadongkon.
During the war with Bone, they later built the Tarangenge fortress which was above the Londa ridge to defend their territory. After the war ended, they began to move settlements to a lower location adjacent to rice fields and cattle grazing. And still make Londa a funeral until now.
That is Londa with its history. This place is included in the tentative list of ‘Toraja traditional settlements’ which are registered to be a UNESCO world heritage.