Wayang Kulit (Shadow Puppet Play) (Event)


  • Date : 2019-04-01 to 2020-03-31
  • Time : 8 PM to 9 PM
  • Adult : $ 7.1 Per Person | Child : Below 7 Years Are Free!

Address :

Pondok Bambu Acc

Monkey Forest Street, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali - Indonesia

Phone : +62 361 973 285 (Fabulous Ubud Tourism Information Centre)

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

Group : Wayang Kulit

Day : Thursday / Time : 08.00 pm / Venue : Pondok Bambu Acc.

Program :

Wayang Kulit (Shadow Puppet Play)

Wayang is a generic word, referring to all the traditional forms of theatre in Indonesia. The more precise term Wayang Kulit indicates the shadow puppet theatre that has so far been very popular in Central Java and many other South-East Asia regions. It is believed that Wayang was brought to South-East Asia from India around the 1st Century CE, when Hinduism penetrated the whole region. The first record of a Wayang performance is an inscription dated 930 CE that says "Si Galigi Mawayang", an itinerant performer who performed on the story of Bima's sacrifice from the epic Mahabharata during a special royal occasion.

Wayang Kulit is a unique form of theatre employing puppets, light and shadows. The puppets are crafted from water buffalo hide and mounted on sticks, made of water buffalo horn, wood or bamboo. When held up and moved behind a large stretch of white cloth, with an electric bulb or an oil lamp as light source, shadows are cast on the screen. The plays are invariably based on romantic tales, adaptations of the classic Indian epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Some of the plays may be improvised to include local flavors. It is up to the conductor, or dalang, or master puppeteer, to decide.

The Dalang is the director and the narrator of the entire performance. He sits behind the screen and narrates the story. A traditional orchestra plays in the background adding value to the plot through melody and rhythm, while he modulates his voice to create suspense during the drama. Invariably, the play ends with the triumph of Good over Evil.

Story of the Pandava King of Indraparsta (from the epic Mahabharata)

Jarasanda was the famed and powerful King of Magadha, his empire extending far and wide. Jarasanda's daughters were married to King Kansa of Mathura, who is killed by Kresna (incarnation of God Wisnu and a friend of the Pandavas) because of his evil ways.  Enraged on seeing his two daughters widowed, Jarasanda raids Kresna's capital Mathura, causing large scale destruction and loss of life. To evade war, Kresna moves his capital to Dwaraka, an island city guarded heavily and unapproachable to Jarasandha.  But Jarasanda does not give up and plans to conduct a Yagna to please God Siwa and attain the more power so as to conquer Kresna's kingdom. For this Yagna he imprisons some 100 kings, planning to offer them as sacrifice to God Siwa. The Kings captured by Jarasanda are helpless and secretly ask Kresna to rescue them. Kresna, not wanting wage a war and cause further destruction, devises a plan to eliminate Jarasanda.

In the meanwhile, Yudistra, the eldest of the Pandava brothers after being coronated the King of the Kingdom of Indraparsta is advised by sage Hyang Nerada to perform the prestigious Rajasuya Yagna or Ashwamedha Yagna so as to proclaim himself Emperor of entire Bharata Varsa. Kresna convinces him that the evil Jarasanda is the only obstacle in his path, hence must be eliminated, but without war.

Together they devise a clever plan to eliminate Jarasanda by enaging him in wrestling duel with Bima. Now, Jarasanda although evil was a philanthropist too, never refusing the poor of anything after his morning prayers at the temple. Taking advantage, on one such occasion Kresna, Arjuna and Bima present themselves before him, disguised as poor Brahmins and trick him into accepting the challenge of fighting a duel with Bima. A long wrestling duel ensues. With no sign of Jarasanda falling, a dejected Bima seeks the help of Kresna. Kresna knows that Jarasanda been given life by the joining together of two lifeless halves and conversely he can be killed only when his body was torn into two halves and thrown far apart so that they cannot merge again.

Using a stick, breaking it into two and throwing both parts in opposite directions he indirectly explains to Bima, takes hint and follows precisely, tears Jarasanda's body apart and throws both parts in opposite directions. Jarasanda is thus killed, all the imprisoned kings released and Sahdeva, Jarasanda's son, rightfully crowned the King of Magadha. Having made happy allies of the kings of all the neighboring kingdoms, Yudistra performs the Rajasuya Yagna with great aplomb and is proclaimed the Emperor of Bharata Varsa, much to the chagrin of his evil Kaurava cousin, Duryodana.