Devadasi System

A devadasi is the name given to a girl ‘dedicated’ to a deity in a temple for worship and service of the deity for the rest of her life. This was prominent in southern and parts of western India. The dedication of the girl takes place in a ceremony similar to marriage and is called ‘pottukattu’. Originally, the girls learned and practiced the arts like Bharathanatyam, Odissi or other classical dance forms, apart from taking care of the temple and engaging in rituals. They traditionally enjoyed a high status in society as music and dance were integral parts of worship in temples. They generally married wealthy patrons and engaged their time pursuing and bettering their artistic skills, instead of becoming a housewife. The job of the housewife belonged to the other wife of the patrons. The Devadasis’ children were also taught music and dance.

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