TEMPLE DANCER Backstory Part Two: Devadasi Research

After my return from India, I researched devadasi ritual and culture and discovered a league of auspicious, empowered women. For over 1,200 years, temple dancers, or devadasis, were educated and revered. Their sacred temple duties brought them honor and status. Devadasis maintained community life cycle rituals: they tied the sacred gold thread, the tali, around the bride’s neck; they led religious processions. Within the temple, they cared for the statues of the deities, and as devotees they often lived on the temple grounds. They studied for many years, learning the intricate dances, the sacred mudras and the accompanying Sanskrit songs. Later, they were disgraced and legally outlawed. Honored? Unchaste? Devadasi were honored yet unchaste. When they reached puberty they were [...]