Apsara is the dancer in Indrasabha or the beautiful Devangana in heaven. They are also called ‘Gandharvi’ as women of Gandharvas.
Background of Apsara
The number of Apsaras is stated as 34 in Hindu Vayu Purana. Ghritachi, Maneka, Rambha, Urvashi, Tilottama, Sukeshi and Manjughosha are mentioned in Amarkosha as famous nymphs. His job is to adorn the gods and the virtuous men of heaven by dancing in the Indrasabha.
Apsara in Hinduism
Apsaras are mentioned along with Gandharvas in Hindu Vedas. He is also mentioned many times in the Mahabharata. Bhagavata says that they originated from the churning of the sea. In the Brahmand Purana, they are said to reside on Mount Merupavata and Kamadeva is their ruler.
If Indrapadas was in danger due to one’s extreme fever, Apsaras were used to break his fever. There are fourteen groups of apsaras and they are differentiated as ‘divine’ and ‘cosmic’. Some nymphs are considered to be the psychic daughters of Brahma and Manu and some are considered to be the wives and mothers of gods and sages.
The idea that Apsaras come to Bhootala and love humans too is seen in the story of Pururava-Urvashi. Reservoirs, mountains, rivers, seas and some trees are his favorite places. His favorite things are dancing and drinking. The nymphs in Greek mythology also bear a resemblance to the apsaras.