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What is the Devadasi system in India

In this article, we will know what is the Devadasi system in India. Temples were being built in South India in the ninth and tenth centuries. During that time many devadasis were recruited. They had to fan the idol, carry the sacred flame of Kumbharati and dance and sing in front of the deity during the procession. There were many Devadasis in the temples of Madura, Kanjeevaram and Thanjavur. They used to get allowance from the permanent donations of the big temples of the place.

What is the Devadasi system in India

What is the Devadasi system in India

Devadasi system is a girl dedicated to a deity. In ancient India, flowers, incense, grains, cooked food, drinks etc. were offered to the deity during worship. It was also believed that the Lord should enjoy material pleasures. So many beautiful girls were offered to the deity to dance and sing in front of the deity as well as participate in the deity’s ceremony. The Puranas confirm the view that girls were given as God’s wife. Over time, the priests used them for their own enjoyment.

It was the official duty of the devadasis to dance and sing in the temple both in the morning and in the evening, as well as to participate in all public functions. He was invited to weddings and other religious family gatherings. At that time, she was the only woman who had the privilege of learning to read, dance and sing.

Devadasis get a certain amount from the temple. Sometimes the land adjacent to the temple was given to the Devadasi for subsistence. The devadasi’s daughter inherited from her mother and became the devadasi, while the son became the singer or musician of the temple. The dancers of the temple were very beautiful. They used perfumes, beautiful costumes and hairstyles adorned with fragrant flowers, gems and gold ornaments and skillfully attracted men. By the time she became a prostitute, her reputation had fallen. Devadasis are generally not allowed to marry.

Temples were being built in South India in the ninth and tenth centuries. During that time many devadasis were recruited. They had to fan the idol, carry the sacred flame of Kumbharati and dance and sing in front of the deity during the procession. There were many Devadasis in the temples of Madura, Kanjeevaram and Thanjavur. They used to get allowance from the permanent donations of the big temples of the place.

In Karnataka, Devadasis are known as ‘Basavi’. Offerings to devadasis in the form of Basavas were especially popular among Lingayats and Holayas. They had to live as prostitutes. Lingayat Basavya had no surname other than the place name. Basaveshwara and Mallikarjuna were his deities. Their main function was to attend caste meetings, weddings and other ceremonies, assisting women in performing religious rites, and performing aarti to the bride and groom. The Basavas had inherited the property from their parents.

Devadasi Fair is held every Poornima at Saundatti in Belgaum district of Karnataka. A big fair is held on Maghi Purnima. The practice of taking girls to Goddess Yallama at the fair has been going on for a long time. These devadasis are called ‘Jogatini’.

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