The ballet is set in legendary India. Solar, the noblest and braviest warrior of the land returns with his comrades from hunting the tiger. On the pretext that he wants to pray at the holy fire, he asks his friends to leave him on his own. In reality, however, he hopes to meet his secret lover, the Bayadere or temple dancer Nikiya. After they have left, Solor calls the fakir Magdayeva, whom he wants to help him arrange a secret meeting with Nikiyal they are, however, interrupted by the arrival of the high Brahman and the priests. The Brahman orders Magdaveya to call the other fakirs and to light the holy fire for the celebrations. The Bayaderes appear and begin their ritual dance. When they have finished their dance, Nikiya appears; she has been chosen to be ordained as their leader and is taken to the Brahman, who lifts her veil and is overwhelmed by her beauty.