MAHARIS & GOTIPUAS

Throughout India, dance was considered a way to worship gods and goddesses. This is how dancers and musicians were connected to the temples.
In Orissa, around the 12th century the tradition of Devadasis was established by King Chodaganga Deva.

For the ceremonies dedicated to the god Jagannath, maidservants were engaged. They followed a strict discipline. Their spiritual marriage to God was symbolized by a simple knot on their sari, thus signifying that they were accepted as devadasis.

They were trained in music and dance at the age of nine. After their apprenticeship they could be part of the Sakala Dhupa ceremony, the morning prayer that was celebrated with a pure dance. There were other ceremonies like Sandhya Dhupa and Bada Singara. During this ritual the Maharis danced, accompanied by songs.

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