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The Legend of Ponorogo Dance

Legenda Tari Ponorogo >> Edisi Indonesia

Folklore From East Java

A long time ago, there was a kingdom in Kediri, East Java. The king had a beautiful daughter. Her name was Princess Dewi Sanggalangit. She was not only beautiful, but also had a great personality. She liked to help people and she never treated people differently.

Princess Dewi Sanggalangit was single. Although many young men had come to propose her to be their wife, the princess still did not want to get married yet. It made the king restless.

"My daughter, what are you waiting for? You are old enough to get married."

"I know that, Father. And I will pray to gods to give me guidance," said the princess.

Princess Dewi Sanggalangit did not want to choose the wrong husband. Therefore, she meditated, asking gods to give her guidance on how to choose the right husband.

While during her meditation, the princess had a vision. It was seen that in her wedding party, people enjoyed watching a dance. It was not a common dance that she had seen before.

The dancers were dancing following harmonious melody from the Gamelan. It is a traditional music instrument in Java. There were also horses lining up, they were following the bride and the groom. And the most interesting attraction was the performance of a two-headed animal!

The princess told the king about her vision during the meditation. The king then made an announcement. He said that any man could realize his daughter's wish, could marry her.

One by one, they gave up. They said it was very difficult to hold the dance, especially the performance of a two-headed animal. However, there were two men who still wanted to continue. They were King Singabarong from Lodaya Kingdom and King Kelanaswandana from Bandarangin Kingdom.

King Singabarong was a mean king. He would hurt anyone who did not obey him. King Singabarong was very strange. He was a human but he had a lion head. He was a very tall and big man. His head had been hairy just like a lion's head. There were many fleas on his head, therefore he kept a peacock. He always brought his peacock with him. And whenever he felt itchy, he asked his bird to peck and bit the fleas.

Meanwhile, King Kelanaswandana was a handsome man. He was wise and kind to his people. The King had a great supernatural power. He was still single. And he really loved Princess Dewi Sanggalangit. He was sure that he could hold the dance.

Both kings worked very hard. To anticipate his competitor, King Singabarong sent his soldier to spy King Kelanaswandanana:

The report from his soldier shocked King Singabarong. He said that King Kelanaswandana already had 140 twin horses.

King Singabarong was upset! He planned to attack King Kelanaswandana and stole his horses. Soon King Singabarong and his soldiers arrived at the Kingdom of Bandarangin. Finally the two kings were facing each other.

While they were fighting, suddenly King Singabarong felt very itchy in his head. He could not stand it anymore. He asked his peacock to peck his hairy-lion-head. King Kelanaswandana did not waste the great opportunity. With his supernatural power, he whipped King Singabarong.

Amazingly, King Singabarong changed into a very strange animal. His peacock joined his head. King Singabarong had changed into a two-headed animal! King Kelanaswandana immediately brought the two-headed animal and performed the dance.

Princess Dewi Sanggalangit amazed and as promised she agreed to marry King Kelanaswandana. And she was brought to Wengker in Bandarangin Kingdom. Wengker was the other name of Ponorogo. Since then people named the dance as Ponorogo dance.***

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