Ravan was a Tamil king

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Based on South Indian compositions, this dance project interprets the relationship between Rāma and Sītā - the perfect couple in Indian culture. Projections show old pictures with scenes from the dances, and for the first time the original text with translation. The audience can also read the dance.


Rāma and Sita are considered the perfect couple in Indian culture. Rāma, king of Ayodhya, exiled for 14 years by the intrigue of his stepmother, is accompanied by his brother Lakṣmaṇa and his wife Sītā. After many adventures, Sītā is kidnapped by the demon king Rāvana, who avenges his sister Śūrpaṇakā, who was humiliated and defaced by Rāma. Rāvana abducts Sītā to his kingdom in Sri Lanka and waits for her to return his love. With the help of Hanumān and his monkey army, Rāma builds a bridge (Setu / Adams Bridge) to Sri Lanka. In a cruel war against Rāvana, Rāma frees his wife Sītā and brings her back to Ayodhya. However, Rāma and the people doubt their allegiance, and Sītā must undergo a trial by fire. It passes this, but disappointed by his mistrust, it leaves Rama and goes back to the earth from which it came. Rāma then hands over the rulership to his sons and is united with Sītā in heaven. In a adaptation by the poet Tulsidas (17th century), the Rāmāyana ends with a happy ending.

Vālmiki is considered to be the author of the Rāmāyana epic and probably lived in the period between 700 BC. - 300 AD. It is said that in his youth he was the leader of a band of robbers. But after meeting the sage Narada, he changed his way of life. When he watched a hunter kill the male, a pair of mating birds, he was deeply moved by the suffering and cursed the hunter in verse. So he created the meter of Śloka. Impressed by the beauty of this meter, God Brahma asked him to glorify the deeds of Rama in this meter. Vālmiki was visited by the outcast Sita. She gave birth to twins Kuśa (grass) and Lava (cut) in his hermitage. Vālmiki raised the two sons of Rāma and taught them the Rāmāyana.

Arunachala Kāvi (1711-1779) was a Tamil poet and composer of Carnatic, South Indian music from Thāñjavur. The three Tamil composers Arunachala Kāvi, Muthu Thandavar and Marimutthu Pillai are considered to be the Tamil trinity who contributed to the development of Carnatic music.

Arunachala Kavi wrote, among other things, the Rama Naṭakam, a musical drama based on the Rāmāyana. Svāti Tirunāl Rāma Varma (1813-1846) was the Mahārāja of the Kingdom of Travancore in British India. He is considered a brilliant composer of classical compositions in the Carnatic and Hindusthani styles. He was an able ruler and a great patron of the arts. Many musicians and artists lived in his palace, including the four famous brothers, the Thāñjavur Quartet, who created the classical Bharatanāṭyam repertoire.

Rāma is the hero of the epic Rāmāyana and an incarnation of the god Vishnu. Sītā is Rāmas wife and daughter of King Janaka and the epitome of feminine purity and virtue. Rāvaṇa, a great devotee of the god Śiva, had requested the grace of God Brahma that he could neither be killed by gods nor by demons. Therefore, God Visnu incarnated as a human / Rāma, in order to regain the Sītā he had stolen from Rāvaṇa in Rāvāyana and to kill Rāvaṇa. Rāvaṇa is not only a demon king, he is also known as a scholar and as the creator of the stringed instrument Vīna.

Daśaratha, king of Ayodhya, Rama's father.

Kauśalyā, mother of Rāma, the first wife of Daśaratha.

Kaikeyī, Daśaratha's third wife and Bharata's mother. She demands the banishment of Rama into the woods and the coronation of her son Bharata. Sumitrā, Daśaratha's second wife and mother of twins Lakṣmaṇa and Śatrughna. Lakṣmaṇa, is closely connected to Rama and accompanies him and Sita into exile.

Hanumān, the wise and devoted monkey, helps Rāma in his search for Sītā and in the fight against Rāvaṇa. Sugrīva is the ruler of the monkey kingdom. His throne has been taken by his brother Vali, but Rāma helps him defeat the usurper in exchange for helping him find Sītā.


Radha Anjali - overall concept, direction, speaker, dance

Asmita Banerjee - text editing, dance

Rani Candratata - visuals, music editing, dance

Parvati B. Mayer - dance

Rajesvari R. Riepl - dance

Srinidhi E. Schober - dance

Aditi Weber - dance

Herbert Gnauer - speaker

Music recordings - Bharata Choodmani, Chennai, India



Todaya Maṅgalam from the Bhajana Saṁpradāya

Rāga and Tāla: Malika

Choreography: Adyar K. Lakshman


Author: Arunachala Kāvi

Rāga: Ananda Bhairavi


Author: Arunachala Kāvi

Raga: Useni

Tāla: Misracapu

Choreography: Kalanidhi Narayanan


Author: Arunachala Kāvi

Rāga: Malika

Tāla: Adi

Choreography: Rukmini Devi

Bhavayami Raghurāman

Composition: Svāti Tirunāl

Rāga: Malika

Tāla: Rūpaka

Choreography: Geetha Gopinath


Rāga: Kannaḍa

Tāla: Rūpaka

Choreography: Adyar K. Lakshman



Institute for South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies as part of the "Campus aktuell 2019" event series
Auditorium on campus, Spitalgasse 2, Hof 1.11, 1090 Vienna