Sunday January 21, 2018

39 Years of Ramayana Ballet at Purawisata, Indonesia

The only group to perform Ramayana for 39 years non-stop

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Ramayana Ballet Image: Wikimedia Commons
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By Shubhi Mangla

In Purawisata Yogyakarta, Indonesia, this organization has been performing Ramayana ballet every single day since last 39 years. 

What is Ramayana Ballet?

Ramayana ballet is an art performance of one of the most ancient epic, Ramayana, originally written by Valmiki. The performance mostly includes various elements like dance (traditional Javanese dance), music, song, lyrics, costumes, lighting, stage etc. to make the performance interesting and understandable for the audience. The performance is favored by both domestic and foreign tourists. Ramayana ballet is performed at various places like the Prambanan Hindu temple, Purawisata and Hyatt hotel.

Ramayana Ballet at Purawisata

Ramayana Ballet at Purawisata is one of the most magnificent performances in Indonesia. The ballet has been performed every night since the year 1976 regardless of the weather and crowd. It has also won the Indonesian Record Museum (MURI) for its commitment and consistency.

Ramayana Ballet at Purawisata, Yogyakarta Source: Wikimedia Commons
Ramayana Ballet at Purawisata, Yogyakarta
Source: Wikimedia Commons

At Purawisata, the Ramayana ballet is divided into different acts. The whole play is presented only through body movements, without any dialogues. The melodious Javanese songs are played in the background. When the Ravana and Lord Hanuman appear the music becomes livelier. The performance becomes even more compelling when the war begins. When the ballet ends, viewers can go to the stage and click pictures with their favorite actors.

Also Read: Religion through performance: the Indonesian Ram Lila

The most amazing part of this performance is Gazebo dinner. Before the beginning of the performance, guests will have dinner at the Gazebo Garden Restaurant. It is the only restaurant that includes this amazing Ramayana Ballet in their dinner package. The visitors can enjoy luscious Indonesian meals with soft ‘Gamelan’ music making it convenient for the guests with a pleasing buffet and barbeque. The restaurant also has a classic Sultan palace architecture and has a lovely ambience.

Wayang Orang

Wayang Orang is the name of the group who has performed the Ramayana ballet at Purawisata consistently from the past 39 years. Before the Ramayana at Purawisata, there used to be another group who performed the Ramayana ballet at Sompilan House. But after that group broke up, Wayang Orang also collapsed. After that, the Wayang Orang group came to Purawisata which was earlier known as THR. The group started performing there in order to save the Sompilans. Pardiman, Founder of the Ramayana Purawisata says, ‘Since we merge, the members of the Wayang Orang survive’.

Watch this video: STORY BEHIND THE STAGE – Ramayana Ballet Purawisata, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

In 1998, there were travel warnings in Indonesia (suspecting terrorist attacks), which drove the tourists away and the group faced a downfall. There are 63 members in the whole group who come and go. The group consists of the fourth generation and includes small children too. Tukiran, Director of Stage says, “I got a lot of experience from the Wayang Orang, so I can understand a person’s character and what role could be played. As Ravana, Rama or other…” Not just the performance, the group also takes care of about 30 costumes. The costumes are washed, basked and stored separating each character. The dancer of this group are very dedicated towards their work and don’t mind what they are being paid to do it. They love this art and perform it regularly even though they have taken up other jobs.

Shubhi Mangla is an intern at Newsgram and a student of Journalism and Mass Communication in New Delhi. Twitter@ shubhi_mangla

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  • Akanksha Sharma

    Wow , this is amazing

  • Pragya Jha

    this Ramayana ballet is performed in Prambanan temple of Indonesia in open air theater.

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    the Prambanan Hindu temple where Ramayana ballet is performed is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    Spread of Hindu Mythology..

  • Akanksha Sharma

    Wow , this is amazing

  • Pragya Jha

    this Ramayana ballet is performed in Prambanan temple of Indonesia in open air theater.

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    the Prambanan Hindu temple where Ramayana ballet is performed is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    Spread of Hindu Mythology..

Next Story

The Scion of Ikshvaku: A retelling of Ramayana by Amish Tripathi

The book is simple yet written nicely. It can get you engrossed right away. Everything is explained well, it is graphic enough for a reader to play it as a movie in their head.

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'The Scion of Ikshvaku' is based on Ramayana, though it deviates from the original epic. Wikipedia
'The Scion of Ikshvaku' is based on Ramayana, though it deviates from the original epic. Wikipedia
  • Amish Tripathi’s ‘The Scion of Ikshvaku’ is a retelling of Ramayana.
  • The book is a surprise to all the readers who think that it will follow the conventional story line.
  • The book has garnered good responses and has also built anticipation for the other ones in the series.

Amish Tripathi is famous for taking elements from Hindu mythology and adding his own imagination to concoct exciting and thrilling reads. His earlier books on Shiva got rave reviews. And now he’s back, and this time he is retelling us one of our favourite mythological stories. The story of Ramayana.

The first book of the Ram Chandra series by Amish Tripathi, The Scion of Ikshvaku, was released on 22 June 2015 after what seemed to be the most expensive promotional drive for a book, which even included YouTube trailers.

Akshay Kumar at the cover launch of 'The Scion of Ikshvaku.' Wikimedia Commons
Akshay Kumar at the cover launch of ‘The Scion of Ikshvaku.’ Wikimedia Commons

How much did Tripathi succeed in retelling us the story of Ramayana? 

Amish Tripathi knows how to mix mythology with his plots, but how accurate was his mythology this time around? For anyone who knows the Ramayana and expects ‘The Scion of Ikshvaku’ to be the same, must prepare themselves for a shock.

But for those who know how Amish Tripathi goes with his stories, the book will meet all their expectations, for Amish knows how to bend and create a story.

His literary style is nothing classic. Many people don’t even like it, but one cannot help but admire how Amish always manages to create new stories from old, rusty ones. He has an exceptional ability to keep the essence of mythological tales while spinning wildly deviant plots around them.

The narration in ‘The Scion of Ikshvaku’ is very good, with crisp dialogues and suspense which was aptly built up paragraph through a paragraph.

Amish builds upon the epic Rama, in a very un-Ramayana like manner (He never used the word ‘Ramayana’ which is very clever of him). The differences with the epic tale are apparent right where he lists the major characters. Ram is just another human hero and the story is devoid of any magical elements.

The first and greatest difference between the Ramayana and The Scion of Ikshvaku is the depiction of Ram as an unloved prince. His father, King Dasaratha, considers Ram inauspicious and reason for all his misfortunes. The very foundation of the epic is laid differently in the story.

Many characters surprise us we move forward with the story. For example, Manthara instead of a poor handmaiden is shown as the wealthiest businesswoman of Ayodhya in Amish’s world.

Another example is Sita, who Amish appointed as the prime minister of Mithila in his story. Ravana also only has one head in Tripathi’s version, though with a horned helmet.

Amish Tripathi, the author who knows how to bend mythology to create amazing stories. Wikimedia Commons
Amish Tripathi, the author who knows how to bend mythology to create amazing stories. Wikimedia Commons

The intrigue deepens as we read further into the story. Amish has played with this epic and has made it into a story which surprises us at every turn of event. It is nothing like we would think it would be.

Amish is unapologetic about all the changes he made in mythology and that is his USP.

The book is full of examples of Amish’s imagination, but it is for the reader to find them and judge them. The author has packed his book with all the necessary drama-action-comedy masala, the combination which always gets guaranteed success.

Honestly, the book cannot claim any literary merit, but Amish’s easy prose and page-turning style are designed to be enjoyable, not analyzable.

The book is simple yet written nicely. It can get you engrossed right away. Everything is explained well, it is graphic enough for a reader to play it as a movie in their head. This s one book which once picked up, you won’t be able to leave until it is done.