New Devadasi To Dance During Odisha’s Tulsi Khetra Rath Yatra
Kendrapara: In keeping with tradition, Devadasi Janha Dasi will dance during the Rath Yatra of Baladevjew Temple at Ichhapur this year. She is a regular visitor to the temple.
Although the Devadasi tradition was abolished in several temples, the tradition was kept alive in Tulasi Khetra. It was stopped in Jagannath Temple in Puri in 2015 after the death of Devadasi Sashimani Devi.
The last Devadasi to have danced during the yatra at Baladevjew Temple was Taramani Devi, who died six months back at the age of 59. She carried on the practice for 20 years, having taken over form Kiranbala Dasi who died in 2000, said Executive Officer of Baladevjew Temple Balabhadra Patri.
Devadasis used to dance as part of Mahari Seva in front of the deities in temples at night during the Badasingar Besa.
Nowadays, they are only allowed to dance during Rath Yatra. However, they are permitted to sing devotional songs at temples.
“Several devotees pay the Devadasis during Rath Yatra,” said Patri.