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Who is Nyi Roro Kidul?

The myth of Nyi Roro Kidul emerged because of the defeat of Sultan Agung. The inherited myth is that every Mataram king becomes the husband of the Queen of the South Coast.
Who is Nyi Roro Kidul?
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Nyi Roro Kidul has lived for a long time in the memory of the Javanese people. He is said to have a relationship with the Javanese kings. It is said that every coronation of the king of Java is at the same time a mystical wedding ritual with the Queen of the South Coast. Who is Nyi Roro Kidul? Its origin has several versions.

Anthropologist Robert Wessing in "A Princess from Sunda: Some Aspects of Nyi Roro Kidul," Asian Folklore Studies Vol. 56 in 1997, stated that Queen Kidul was originally the daughter of the Galuh Kingdom, around the 13th century. There is also a version that says she is the descendant of the ruler of Pajajaran. Then there are those who say he is a descendant of King Airlangga from Kahuripan, and some even associate him with King Kediri Jayabaya.

It is said that Ratu Ayu from Galuh gave birth to a baby girl. An oddity arises, the baby girl can talk and say that she is the ruler of all the supernatural beings in Java and will live on the South Coast. At the same time, the spirit of King Sindhula from Galuh also appeared and said that his grandson would not have a husband to keep himself pure, and that if he had a husband he could only be married to Islamic kings in Java.


This Queen of the South Coast waited for her husband for two centuries. Panembahan Senapati, who ruled Islamic Mataram from 1585-1601, went to the South Coast to meditate for directions to win the battle against Sultan Pajang in Prambanan. It is said that his persistence made the South Sea turbulent. The palace of the queen of the South Coast, which was located at its base, was in ruins due to the power of the Panembahan Senapati prayer.

Roro Kidul left the nest and appeared on the surface of the ocean. He was stunned to see a handsome young man meditating. He immediately fell in love and knelt at the feet of Panembahan Senapati. After making love for three days and three nights in the palace under the South Sea, the queen of the South Coast promised to help Senapati win the war.

Senapati also rushed to the Prambanan palagan with the help of spirit troops from the South Coast. Panembahan Senapati won brilliantly.


The grandson of panembahan senapati, Sultan Agung who ruled 1613-1646, performed a bedhaya dance which tells the love ballad of his grandfather with Ratu Kidul. When there was palihan nagari 1755, wrote Nancy K. Florida in "The Badhaya Katawang: A Translation of the Song of Kangjeng Ratu Kidul," Indonesia Number 53 of 1992, the Yogyakarta palace received a portion of the bedhaya semang and the Surakarta bedhaya ketawang palace. This dance becomes sacred and mandatory during the coronation ceremony of the new king.

In his speech for the acceptance of the 1988 Ramon Magsaysay award, the writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer said that the story of the Queen of the South Sea was just a myth. In his written speech entitled Literature, Censorship and the State: How Far is the Danger of Reading? Pram explained that the Mataram court poets created the myth of Nyi Roro Kidul as compensation for Sultan Agung's defeat when he attacked Batavia, as well as for failing to control the trade routes on the North Coast of Java.


"To cover up the loss, the Javanese poet created the Goddess of the Sea Nyi Roro Kidul as a blanket, that Mataram still controlled the sea, here the South Sea (Indian Ocean). This myth gave birth to another mythical child: that every Mataram king was related to this Goddess, ”wrote Pram.

Pram also said that the taboo myth of wearing green clothes in the South Coast region was because the Mataram court poets wanted to break the association of people on the color of the Company (VOC) army clothing which was also green.

According to Nancy, the relationship between the Sultan of Yogyakarta and Nyi Roro Kidul was strained when the death of Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX on October 2, 1988. However, at the coronation of Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, seeing the hysteria of the masses in his coronation, it is said that the support and relationship with Nyi Roro Kidul was fine.