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India’s history is a tapestry of folk tales, mythology, and magnificently sculpted temples. The stories associated with these temples are even more intriguing. They not only depict stories about kings and culture but are also known to have been the hub for music and dance along with the worship of deities. Temples have been an integral part of the history of India because they tell about the socio-cultural practices of those times in which a temple was built. Also, the ancient beliefs associated with these temples have always been a subject of curiosity for the scholars. The temples have nurtured several amazing traditions in the past which have attracted several enthusiasts to explore these monuments and find out the buried traditions that once inhabited these temples. Great kings once ruled the nation, great events have taken place in the history of India, a plethora of traditions have evolved over time and many social practices have shaped the present society. And one of those social practices is the Devadasi system which started as a very celebrated social practice to face the consequences of a degrading society that attached this system with several social stigmas. However, this system of Devadasi managed to thrive amidst the ever-changing notions concerned with it. Devadasi is a Sanskrit word which means the servants of God (DEVA meaning god and DASI meaning servant).
The devadasi system has been believed to have started in the southern and south-western states of India, with the empires of different rulers expanding in those regions and giving a boost to the temple building activities with gusto. With this, began the system of Devadasi. In those days a devadasi was supposed to dedicate herself to the worship of deities for her entire lifetime. Girls usually of the age group 8-16 were considered the right age group to be converted into devadasis. As a devadasi, she enjoyed a high status and prestige in the society and trained herself to become a dancer or singer or sometimes both. She even taught other girls music and dance in the temple premises. The devadasis were considered to be highly auspicious. They were in close association with the worship of the god and performed a dance to please God. This was considered to be the sole purpose of a devadasi: to please god with her music, dance, and worship. They, later on in their lives married to wealthy kings but were not required to shoulder responsibilities of a housewife. They were entitled to the temple duties only.
Kalidas in his book, "Meghadhoot", wrote about the practice of devadasi system. It is also believed that the devadasi system began in the 6th century CE. There is some evidence of the devadasi system becoming popular during the reign of the Chola dynasty. Southern India relishes the history of having several temples built by the eminent rulers of different kingdoms who ruled the region from time to time. Devadasi system is believed to have originated during this time and to have spread to other regions of the country with the passage of time. In Tamil speaking regions, the devadasis were known as Devar Adigalar, in Andhra Pradesh, they were known as Nattuvaru and in the eastern region of India, particularly in the state of Odisha, they were known as Maharis. This system is still prevalent in many regions of the country but is not practiced openly. With the beginning of the colonial rule, the devadasi system started to enter a new dimension and was stigmatized for giving rise to something objectionable as prostitution.
Despite everything, Devadasi system was one of the pious services that a girl and her family could render to the temple deities. The Devadasi system was a highly worshipped practice in the medieval India. This system didn’t degrade the image of a girl rather made her enjoy quite a reputation in the society. We have tried to portray this culture in our product keeping in mind the once famous devadasi system. Never miss a chance to drape over your body a splendid culture in its finest depiction. Do visit product page to find out more information about the product.