Monkey Dance

The island of Bali. A bewildering patchwork of colours and contrasts. An intricate Hindu civilisation prospers based on a strong belief in the cosmic cycles of the gods. Temples dominate the Balinese landscape. Strangely these places of worship are protected by troops. Troops of monkeys the sacred descendants of an all powerful monkey god named Hanuman.

On Bali's rugged west coast at the temple of Ulawatu, the monkeys take human form, they are the chorus and heroes of the Kechak or monkey dance. In the monkey dance the divine Prince Rama and his beautiful wife Sita are the central characters of the great Hindu epic the Ramayana.

One day while in the forest a golden deer appears before them. Rama sets off stalking it through the forest. But Sita left alone in a magic circle of protection receives an unwelcome visitor. Rawana a monster of wickedness and lechery. He attempts to break the circle and kidnap the terrified Sita. He succeeds and carries her off to this evil kingdom of demons and darkness.

Enter Hanuman the Monkey General. He comes to Rama his prince and offers his help in the quest to save Sita. Hanuman enlists the willing support of vast army of monkeys. The monkeys follow their general to the dark kingdom here they do battle with the evil spirits. Rama eventually slays Rwana. With Sita safely reunited with Rama, Hanuman continues on his many adventures.

Balinese Hindus say it was Hanuman who brought the monkeys to their island. That he uprooted a mountain, home to many monkeys from a distant land. And that Hanuman flew with the monkey mountain across the oceans. Finally arriving in Bali, he placed his special offering - his sacred army.

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