The mythical world of music and dance

The Ramayana Ballet, with the Prambanan Temple as the backdrop, is the most popular arts performance in Yogyakarta – for good reason!

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.

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Ramayana Ballet, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

It’s appropriate that with the ancient Prambanan Temple in the background, you are transported back to a time of demons, heroic animals and epic royal quests. It’s a mythical world illustrated through dance and music that is the setting for a love story centuries old.

The Ramayana Ballet is the most famous performance in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta. It was only while I was going through some photos of my trip there late last year that I realised I hadn’t shared any photos of the incredible show.

Ramayana Ballet at Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

It’s a graceful and fluid spectacle that juxtaposes the grandeur of the large open air stage with the focused detail of the ballet choreography. The whole performance, with the backdrop of the temple, feels exotic and, at the same time intimate. The costumes, the expressions, and the songs draw you in.

The tale is an old Indian epic which has become popular in Indonesia and is the same portrayed in the Ramayana performance at Bali’s Uluwatu. A young princess is kidnapped by an evil demon and her lover prince, with the help of his brother and a monkey, set out to save her. The narrative climaxes at a pint where the mischievous animal sets fire to the palace of the antagonists.

Photos have trouble capturing the movements and animate beauty of the show but hopefully this collection gives you a sense of how it feels to be in the theatre with the hundreds of other spectators.

Ramayana Ballet at Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Ramayana Ballet at Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Ramayana Ballet at Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Ramayana Ballet at Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Ramayana Ballet at Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Ramayana Ballet at Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Ramayana Ballet at Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Ramayana Ballet at Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Ramayana Ballet at Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

THE BEST ACCOMMODATION IN YOGYAKARTA

There are some really cool places in Yogyakarta, which is just would you would expect from one of Indonesia’s most creative cities.

BACKPACKER

If you’re looking for a backpacker option, I would recommend the cool Cubic Jogja.

BUDGET

A good cheap and comfortable hotel is Aloha Hotel.

BOUTIQUE

For some ecofriendly accommodation, there’s the affordable Greenhost Boutique Hotel in a good location.

LUXURY

And when it comes to luxury, I would recommend the Sofia Boutique Residence.

Time Travel Turtle was a guest of the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.

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