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The Ramayana is India's best-loved story. It tells the tale of a handsome Indian prince called Rama, whose wife Sita was been stolen from him. Sita was snatched away by the demon Ravana and taken to his mountain kingdom. Rama was determined to save Sita, and - helped by his brother Lakshman and the loyal monkey god Hanuman - Rama eventually rescued his wife in a series of heroic battles which are known to children across India.

In India, the Ramayana is often performed in public. In villages across the country, travelling actors, musicians, dancers and puppeteers present the Ramayana outside in village squares or in the courtyards of big houses and even palaces. These performances are very special occasions and usually last all night.

Instructions for Shadow Puppets

Shadow puppets are an important and popular form of entertainment throughout India. Puppets like this are often used to tell the story of the Ramayana. To make your own shadow puppet, you will need:

  • Scissors
  • Box of paper fasteners
  • Construction straws or wooden barbeque skewers
  • Tape
  • Crayons or paint
  • Hole-punch
  • Cardboard (a piece that can fit in your printer)
  1. Choose the puppet you want to make:
  2. Print it out on the piece of cardboard – if you print it out on paper, glue it to a piece of cardboard before proceeding.
  3. Colour all the pieces in. Remember that Rama usually has a blue skin, Hanuman has green skin, Sita has golden skin, and Ravana has red skin.
  4. Cut out all the pieces.
  5. Use the hole-punch to make holes for joining arms, legs, head, hands and feet. Use the dots on the puppet pieces as your guide.
  6. Put your puppet together by attaching the head, arms and legs to the body with paper fasteners. Attach the hands to the arms and the feet to the legs in the same way.
  7. Tape a straw or wooden skewer to each of the hands and feet.

Congratulations! You've just made your own Indian shadow puppet inspired by the Ramayana.

Don't forget: you can also create your own set and script to put on a scene from the Ramayana yourself!


Rama   Rama   Rama

Rama is a prince whose father has sent him to live in the forest as a punishment. Rama is the hero of the Ramayana, and he holds a bow and arrow, showing that he is ready to destroy evil.