Sundanese Folklores

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Folklores are always be parts of any culture in the world, including Sunda. 

For centuries Sundanese folklores are existed and known but most of them are verbally told by bards during ceremonies and gathering. Hence, each story has several versions, depending on who told it. Much later on scholars started to preserve them by writing them down, but the variations are still there.

There are many types of folklores known in Sunda. The most popular one is called sasakala, or legend in English. It is called sasakala if the story is believed to be occured in the past, but the story is not sacred.

Another type of Sundanese folklore is called babad. Babad is a story that is related to a history. Usually babad depicts somebody heroism, bravery and supernatural power.

Many of these folklores are composed as Pantun Sunda

Pantun Sunda is an oral narrative performance that lasts for hours, often through the night. The bard will narrate, sing, and play kacapi alternately. 

Originally, the story had a sacred character, hence, the bard would begin the performance with offerings to the divine. The story is started with rajah pamuka, the introductory part of Pantun Sunda. It is an invocation to ask for permission and protection from the divine. Then it continues to the content, which is a combination of description, narration, monolog and dialog.  Finally, the bard will end it with rajah pamunah to thank the divine.

Although how to create Pantun Sunda is not strictly determined, many are told in octosyllabic verse [eight syllables in one row].

Nowadays, Pantun Sunda is rarely performed, due to the many modern entertainments. But these folklores will be known forever through other medias such as books and websites.

So, let's start read the Sundanese folklores :)

Sangkuriang

The Legend of Sangkuriang


The legend of Sangkuriang is the most famous Sundanese folklore. The story is about the origin of mount Tangkuban Perahu and Bandung basin. Since both places are well known, people easily relate the story to the setting.

Click here to read The Legend of Sangkuriang …

Ciung Wanara

Exiled since a baby, Ciung Wanara returned to Galuh Kingdom to avenge his parents and take his right as King Manarah of Galuh Kawali.

Read the legend of Ciung Wanara here...

This legend entwined with the history of kingdoms in Sunda. Ciung Wanara was the alias of King Manarah from Galuh kingdom. 

Read the history of Ciung Wanara / King Manarah here ...

Years later, the story continued to the descendant of Ciung Wanara: his daughter Purba Sari. The love story of princess Purba Sari is retold in the story of Lutung Kasarung.

Lutung Kasarung

The legend of Lutung Kasarung.


Originally the story of Lutung Kasarung was told in the form of Pantun Sunda. It is a story of a god disguised as a langur to find his dream girl on earth. 

Who is his dream girl? Read the adventure of Lutung Kasarung here …

Karang Nini and Bale Kambang

The legend of Karang Nini and Bale Kambang


From Galuh kingdom in Ciamis we move further south to Pangandaran. This most favorite beach in Sunda has a true love story to tell, which the wedding vows of "to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish", becomes forever.

Read the legend of Karang Nini and Bale Kambang here ...

Situ Bagendit

The legend of Situ Bagendit originates from a tranquil lake near Garut. It is as story of a rich and stingy widow named Nyi Bagendit who was never grateful of her wealth. 

Read the full story of Situ Bagendit ...

Telaga Warna

Spoiling your children is wrong. That's the underlying moral in this story. But how is spoiling children can become a lake?

Read the legend of Telaga Warna here ...

Batu Cinta - The Legend of Situ Patenggang

The Legend of Situ Patenggang.


Batu Cinta in Situ Patenggang is another love story in the Sundanese folklores. The legend is based on the love story between Ki Santang and Dewi Rengganis.

Continue reading the legend of Situ Patenggang here ...

Folklores beyond the land of Sunda

Roro Jonggrang

The Legend of Roro Jonggrang.


The setting of Roro Jonggrang’s legend at Candi Prambanan makes this famous Hindu temple is also known as Roro Jonggrang temple. 

Read the story of the cursed princess Roro Jonggrang here ...

Stories are not exclusively belong to folklores. A trip to Kota Tua Jakarta will reveal many incredible stories in the historical buildings there. The many museums in Sunda also provide many amazing histories. Check them out! 

Kota Tua Jakarta [Jakarta Old Town].
The history of Jakarta History Museum [Fatahillah Museum].
The history of Museum Wayang [Puppet Museum].
Museums in Indonesia.
  1. Sunda
  2. Folklores