Indonesia's age-old tradition of shadow puppetry is continued by master puppeteers known as "Dhalangs", who perform riveting stories of knights, princesses, ogres and magic with deft hand movements and narration. Many of the stories originate from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the two great epics of Hindu mythology.
The puppets are usually made of leather and painted by artisans, which make the finished products beautiful pieces of art. Although the performances traditionally used oil lamps as a source of light, electric bulbs are more popular today.
As one of the world's oldest continuous forms of storytelling, Wayang Kulit has been recognized as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
A skilled Dhalang can attract audiences of up to 7000 people who often witness performances that go on all night. Viewers are free to move around the venue to enjoy the show from different vantage points.
Partaking in this fascinating cultural performance in centers such as the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta is well worth it.