Ramayana in Indonesia – Kecak Dance (Indonesia Part 2)

One of the most fascinating things about Bali is the similarity it has with the Indian culture. Women and men wake up in the morning to light incense sticks and pray to Ganesha idols. A white sculpture depicting the fight between Ghatodgaja and Karna (in Mahabharata – an indian epic) greets visitors driving out of the Denpasar airport. There are many more such instances of Hindu culture and one of them is the Kecak Dance performance in Uluwatu. One evening, me and Victor took the taxi to Uluwatu for the performance at the Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple. The ticket costs was about 80 000 IDR.

Ghatodgaja attacking Karna sculpture, Bali
Ghatodgaja attacking Karna sculpture, Bali

We arrived an hour before the start (tickets get sold out early) and explored the location. We had to rent out yellow ribbons to tie around our waist, while others had to wear Sarongs to cover their legs. It was allowed to wear jeans here though we had to use sarongs in other touristic places like Borobudur.

Victor and me, Uluwatu, Indonesia
Victor and me, Uluwatu, Indonesia

In Uluwatu, there is a path leading to the top of the hill and which runs along the sides. The sights from the top was amazing – blue skies, sun setting over the horizon and waves crashing against the rocks at the base of the cliff.

Top of Uluwatu, Bali
Top of Uluwatu, Bali
Top of Uluwatu, Indonesia
Top of Uluwatu, Indonesia

Equally amazing was the performance which retold the story of Ramayana: right from Sita’s abduction by Ravana; Lord Rama meeting Hanuman; and the later leading the army to Lanka to defeat Ravana. Throughout the performance, a group of more than 100 men sit around a lamp chanting ‘cak’ in chorus.

Start of Kecak Dance, Uluwatu
Start of Kecak Dance, Uluwatu
Lord Ram and Sita, Kecak Dance, Uluwatu
Lord Ram and Sita, Kecak Dance, Uluwatu
Ravana abducting Sita, Kecak Dance, Uluwatu
Ravana abducting Sita, Kecak Dance, Uluwatu
Hanuman and Lord Ram rescuing Sita, Kecak Dance, Uluwatu
Hanuman and Lord Ram rescuing Sita, Kecak Dance, Uluwatu

The combination of rhythmic chants and the wonderfully enacted drama happening in an open air theatre was truly splendid. The performance lasted for about an hour during which we could also see the sunset. One of the most memorable experiences!!

Sunset at Uluwatu

Night at Uluwatu
Night at Uluwatu
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