Puri Jagannath Temple Loses Its Last Devadasi Parasamani

Puri: The last rites of Devadasi Parasamani, who passed away in her sleep the previous night, were performed at the Swargadwar here on Saturday. She was 87.

According to sources, she was suffering from old age-related ailments.

Parasamani was part of the 800-year-old Devadasi tradition of Jagannath Temple in Puri.

She was staying in a rented house near Gachhakali at Baseli Sahi, a neighbourhood in Puri. Though she served the Lord and recited devotional songs every evening on Manjana Mandap on the premises of the 12th-century shrine for a long time, she was no longer attached to the temple rituals, sources said.

She began her training as a ‘devadasi’ at the age of seven, when she accepted Lord Jagannath as her ‘Divine Husband’ and served him.

According to the Record of Rights (RoR) of the temple, there were about 25 Devadasis in Puri about 100 years ago, Orissa Gazette of 1956 lists nine Devadasis and 11 musicians in the Puri temple. By 1980, there were only four Devadasis (Harapriya, Kokilaprava, Parshmani and Sashimani) in Puri temple and in 2015 the only surviving Devadasi was Parasamani.

In 2015, the temple had lost its last active Devadasi Sashimani Devi at the age of 92, ahead of the Nabakalebara of the Lords. She had served as a Devadasi in the temple since the age of seven and performed her role during Nabakalebar festivals held in 1977 and 1996.


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