The images we have of gorgeous beaches everywhere in the
world are similar: rocky cliffs and sand hit regularly by
rolling waves under a clear blue sky. On a clear morning
or evening, the beaches are a great place to stroll while
watching sunrise or set. Not all beaches, however, have
a unique tale behind them. One of the few that does is Parangtritis
Beach in Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia.
Located about 35 km to the south of Yogyakarta, Parangtritis
Beach has long been famous, not only as a beach resort where
sand-dunes, sandy beaches and rocky cliffs meet, but also
as a historical place closely linked to the mysterious legend
of the Queen of the South Sea, "Kanjeng Ratu Kidul".
Together with her confidant, the feared Nyai or Nyi Roro
Kidul, the ever youthful and beautiful queen, Kanjeng Ratu
Kidul reigns over sea-nymphs and spirits.
The legends say that Kanjeng Ratu Kidul was married to
one of the Mataram Monarchs, Panembahan Senopati, whom she
visited and communed with on certain occasions.
On certain days known as Suro in the Javanese calender,
locals have a ceremonial procession, with many seen presenting
offerings on the beach in honour of the Nyai Roro Kidul
and Queen of the South Sea. During the day, many visit the
beach and hold what is known locally as tirakatan (one-day
fasting) as they pray for their wishes to be fulfilled.
People in black are frequently seen sitting on the beach
in a meditating pose the whole night. Locals who have meditated
on the beach have said that through meditating they could
see a green dragon and Nyi Roro Kidul, who remains young
and beautiful. "The dragon danced before my eyes,"
one local said in a convincing voice. Another admitted that
he meditated there so that he could meet the ever-youthful
and beautiful Nyi Roro Kidul. "I can even communicate
with spirits here," he added.
The legend of Nyi Roro Kidul herself is very popular. Before
turning into a nymph, Nyai Roro Kidul was a young princess
named Dewi Kandita, the daughter of King Mundangwangi and
his first wife. The popularity of Dewi Kandita and her mother
Dewi Rembulan was beyond doubt. They were known for their
beauty, kindness and friendliness, and people loved them.
However, the misery of their lives began when Dewi Mutiara,
another wife of King Mundangwangi, known locally as selir,
became green with envy and grew ambitions to become the
first wife, thereby deserving full affection and attention
from the king.
Dewi Mutiara's dream came true when one day she bore the
son that the king had long been yearning for. Through the
assistance of a witch, Dewi Mutiara made the king's wives
Dewi Rembulan and Dewi Kandita suffer from 'strange' disease,
with their bodies covered with scabies that created the
odour of fish. The disease led them to be sent into exile
in the forest where later Dewi Rembulan died. After a long,
hard and helpless journey, the scabies-covered Dewi Kandita
eventually arrived at a beach where she met a young, handsome
man who promised to cure her illness. At the request of
the young man, Dewi Kandita chased after him as he ran along
the beach. When she reached the water, the man disappeared
and, to her surprise, all the scabies had disappeared but,
strangely, she could not move her legs. Half her body, from
the waist down, had turned into the body of a fish.
Since then she became a sea-nymph, and the locals believe
that Nyi Roro Kidul is the manifestation of Dewi Kandita.
Want to see Nyi Roro Ridul? Then try meditating the whole
night there as locals have suggested.