Monday, February 25, 2008

Global good over evil!

The legend of India’s most ideal man, at least going by mythology, has quite a cult following in southeast Asia too. In the six month period between May & October that includes the time when we celebrate Lord Ram’s homecoming to his kingdom Ayodhya after slaying demon king Ravana (Dussehra) in India, there are performed the famous Ramayana Ballets in the Pramabanan Temple compound in Java, Indonesia. A world heritage site, the compound houses temples dedicated to the Hindu trinity of Lord Vishnu, Shiva & Brahma and their respective carriers.
Magnificent architecture attracting the faithful and the curious, the temple’s most renowned event is the ‘Sendratari’ or the dance recitals of Ramayana. As 250 artists render an ornately executed tale of a familiar epic from Indian mythology across a series of four episodes every time, the audience, comprising a composite mix from around the world, are held to their seats by a brilliant communion of theatrics, music, action & dance. For one, the scene where the messenger monkey Hanuman sets fire to Lanka after meeting Sita is one to collect dropped jaws! As characters named Ram Wijaya, Dewi Shinta, Rahwan & Hanoman take positions, the Indians, could only be reverentially elated…

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