Our first visit to the Prambanan Temple and Ramayana Ballet.


We first visited the Prambanan Temple outside Yogyakarta, Indonesia August 26, 1999 with a group from our language school.

The temple is quite tall and constructed of the same un-mortared stones as Borobudur. It was built in the 9th century, so far as anyone can tell, around the same time as Borobudur.

Every society has a defining myth, and the Rama story does it for Hindu Java. The central and tallest temple is to Shiva, and the Rama epic is told in carved panels around the base of the temple. In this scene Rama wins the hand of the beautiful Sinta by breaking the king's bowstring.

The Ramayana Ballet presents a folkloric version of the Rama cycle in this theater, seen from the temple. Outdoors in the dry season, indoors during the wet.

Here are the hero and heroine Rama and Sinta. After winning the woman, she is stolen away and Rama has to find her and win her back.

Lots of group scenes and slow moving dance.

Musical accompaniment by a gamelan orchestra, the original space music.

There are a couple of fire scenes. After this one the monkey who is about to be sacrificed by the giants escapes and sets the town on fire. Dry rice straw really burns.

When Rama and his supporters win all the battles and he has Sinta back he initially refuses her, assuming she is no longer pure. She throws herself into a fire which does not harm her, proving her purity. They live happily ever after.


Prepared by Duane Ruth-Heffelbower.

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© 1999 Duane Ruth-Heffelbower