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The Legend of Nyi Roro Kidul

November 28th, 2007 · 14 Comments

Several months ago, while visiting the beach towns of Pangandaran and Batu Karas on the south coast of Java, we learned about the legend of Nyi Roro Kidul, the goddess who rules those seas. In the beach town of Pelabuhan Ratu, a local hotel has a room set aside for her, outfitted entirely in green, her color. Indeed, you dare not wear green at the seaside, for fear of incurring her wrath and being pulled to a watery grave.

The beach at Batu Karas    Billy surfing at Batu Karas
(Batu Karas and Billy surfing)

One night we were relaxing on the beach at Pangandaran, sipping some Johnny Walker Red among the fishing boats with Russell and a fellow Indonesian teacher named Tony. Denise remarked that she smelled flowers. Tony looked at us strangely, and said that smelling flowers was the first sign that Nyi Roro Kidul was coming.

Shortly after that, one of us mentioned that we saw lights in the water. We were completely unaware that this was the second sign that Nyi Roro Kidul was coming until Tony told us. He also mentioned that the third (and final) sign was actually seeing her castle rise up out of the water.

Sure enough, way out on the water, a raft floated by. It had a green tarp pulled over it, with a glowing light inside, that could easily pass for the castle of a sea goddess.

Thankfully, none of us were were pulled out to a watery grave that night.

Tags: Elsewhere in Asia

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 DLT // Nov 28, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    Great story-telling! Perhaps Denise should stop wearing green!

  • 2 javajo // Nov 30, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    I love that legend. Did you know that the room she has…#13 I think, is specifically so she can have her way with newly married men?

    Also in Batu Karas they have a ‘Pesta Laut’ each year. The locals cut off a cow’s head put it in a bamboo raft/cage and float it out in the surf as an offering to Nyi Roro Kidul. Pretty unnerving to have a surf with a big cow head floating in the line-up.

  • 3 Billy // Nov 30, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    Haha! No, I didn’t know about the special powers of room #13. Funny stuff. And I would think the cow’s head would attract sharks…

  • 4 pudakonline // Dec 11, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    we saw lights in the water

    is it true?

  • 5 Billy // Dec 11, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    Yeah, we saw lights just for a second. We mentioned it without knowing it was the second sign. Then Tony told us.

  • 6 Lonnie Kopp // Dec 12, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    Your experiences remind me of a story – Eve’s mom (in Phillipines) used the bathroom facility, at a party, with the toilet refuse dropping down below into a penned in area for pigs. After she had “deposited” onto a pigs snout she was told the pig roast would include that very swine. HAHA… She decided to take a pass on the pig roast. Having fun times scooting around on your motorbike?

  • 7 Billy // Dec 13, 2007 at 9:50 am

    That’s a crazy story! Pretty gross!
    Yeah, I’m enjoying the bike, but recently have been driving more safely. Almost took a spill, a friend did take a spill (not serious), and then I saw what appeared to be a serious accident the other day. People drive really aggressively in the pouring rain sometimes… I just don’t want to eat asphalt.

  • 8 yab // Dec 17, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    Nyi Roro Kidul’s room number is 308 in the Samudra inn Hotel.
    I have pics, leave a comment along w/ contact information and I will be glad to share with you.
    I had the previlidge of visiting in back in ’05. Lots and lots of gifts were place in this room.

  • 9 aroengbinang // Dec 24, 2007 at 7:33 am

    the last time i went to the wild pengandaran beach was in 1977… hope it’s getting much better now after the tsunami disaster

  • 10 Anastasia Faradina Sadikun // Sep 30, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    The room is No.308 in Inna Samudra Beach Hotel.

    You can google it though.

  • 11 maya // Dec 7, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Adik kesurupan 1 minggu karena ingin membunuhku setiap melihatqu, yang dipanggil hanya namaqu. Aq selalu berdoa kepada Allah Lindungi aq dan adikqu.setelah itu adikqu sembuh, kemudian aq yang sakit aq kemasukan Nyi Roro Kidul, kata orang2 sekitarqu aq ditolong oleh Allah melalui Ibu Ratu. Tapi aq tidak tahu dia itu siapa dan apa. pada saat aq sakit aq selalu ingin minum air melati, dan memakai baju hijau dan sekelilingqu harus wangi, sampai sekarang.

  • 12 noly // Mar 18, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    this is beautiful………………………..i’m terpesona

  • 13 eta // Oct 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    it’s realy nice if we talk about legend…

  • 14 Kristina // May 24, 2012 at 2:16 am

    I like to hear about her story,and i want to know more about her.I have buy one of her pic on 1998 from Kraton Yogja Galery.

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