A “must-see” when visiting Yogyakarta is the Javanese ballet version of the epic Hindu poem of the Ramayana, at the Prambanan temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whilst the story originated in India, the Javanese version is truly representative of the local art and culture and is performed by more than 200 dancers, gamelan musicians and traditional Javanese Sinden singers, on a giant open-air stage with the spectacular Prambanan temples as a natural backdrop.
The story revolves around the duties of relationships; the qualities of the ideal wife, king, brother and servant. Gods, mortals, giants, monkeys and beautiful women all come together in dance, drama and music, to tell the colourful story of a courtship punctuated by a kidnapping and battles.
Note that the Ramayana ballet is only performed at the Prambanan temple complex during the dry season, from May until October. During other months the performance is indoors.