In Hinduism, the devadasi tradition (देवदासी / ದೇವದಾಸಿ; "servant of god") is a religious tradition in which girls are "married" and dedicated to a deity (deva or devi) or to a temple and includes performance aspects such as those that take place in the temple as well as in the courtly and mujuvani [telegu] or home context. Dance and music were essential part of temple worship. Originally, in addition to this and taking care of the temple and performing rituals, these women learned and practiced Sadir (Bharatanatya), Odissi and other classical Indian artistic traditions and enjoyed a high social status.

During British rule, kings who were the patrons of temples and temple arts became powerless. As a result, devadasis were left without their traditional means of support and patronage. During colonial times, reformists worked towards outlawing the devadasi tradition on grounds that it supported prostitution. Colonial views on devadasis are hotly disputed by several groups and organizations in India and by western academics.[1][2][3][4]

Recently the devadasi system has started to disappear, having been outlawed in all of India in 1988.[5] However, devadasis still exist in India today, as shown in a 2004 report by the National Human Rights Commission of the Government of India.[6] According to this report, "after initiation as devadasis, women migrate either to nearby towns or other far-off cities to practice prostitution" (p200). A study from 1990 recorded that 45.9% of devadasis in one particular district were prostitutes, while most of the others relied on manual labour and agriculture for their income.[7] The practice of dedicating devadasis was declared illegal by the government of the Indian state Karnataka in 1982[8] and by the government of Andhra Pradesh in 1988. However as of 2006 the practice was still prevalent in around 10 districts of northern Karnataka and 14 districts in Andhra Pradesh.[9]

Devadasis are also known by various other local terms, such as jogini. Furthermore, the devadasi practice of religious prostitution is known as basivi in Karnataka and matangi in Maharastra. It is also known as venkatasani, nailis, muralis and theradiyan [1]. Devadasi are sometimes referred to as a caste; however, some question the accuracy of this usage. "According to the devadasis themselves there exists a devadasi 'way of life' or 'professional ethic' (vritti, murai) but not a devadasi jāti (sub-caste). Later, the office of devadasi became hereditary but it did not confer the right to work without adequate qualification" (Amrit Srinivasan, 1985). In Europe the term Bayadere (from French: bayadère, ascending to Portuguese: Balliadera, literally dancer) was occasionally used.[10]



According to rules concerning temple worship (Agamas), dance and music are necessary ingredients of daily puja of deties in temples.

Ancient and medieval history

Little girls dancing as Devdasi.

The first reference to dancing girls in temples is found in Kalidasa's "Meghadhoot". It is said that dancing girls were present at the time of worship in the Mahakal Temple of Ujjain. Some scholars are of the opinion that probably the custom of dedicating girls to temples became quite common in the 6th century CE, as most of the Puranas containing reference to it have been written during this period. Several Puranas recommended that arrangements should be made to enlist the services of singing girls for worship at temples.

By the end of 10th century, the total number of devadasis in many temples was in direct proportion to the wealth and prestige of the temple. During the medieval period, they were regarded as a part of the normal establishment of temples; they occupied a rank next only to priests and their number often reached high proportions. For example, there were 400 devadasis attached to the temples at Tanjore and Travancore.

Local kings often invited temple dancers to dance in their courts, the occurrence of which created a new category of dancers, rajadasis, and modified the technique and themes of the recitals. A devadasi had to satisfy her own soul while she danced unwatched and offered herself to the god, but the rajadasi's dance was meant to be an entertainment.

The popularity of devadasis seems to have reached its pinnacle around 10th and 11th century AD. The rise and fall in the status of devadasis can be seen to be running parallel to the rise and fall of Hindu temples. Invaders from West Asia attained their first victory in India at the beginning of the second millennium CE. The destruction of temples by invaders started from the northwestern borders of the country and spread through the whole of the country. Thereafter the status of the temples fell very quickly in North India and slowly in South India. As the temples became poorer and lost their patron kings, and in some cases were destroyed, the devadasis were forced into a life of poverty, misery, and, in some cases, prostitution.

Devadasis in South India and the Chola empire

The Chola empire encouraged the devadasi system. Men and women were dedicated to temple service. They developed the system of music and dance employed during temple festivals.

Inscriptions reveal that the 400 dancers, their gurus and orchestras, were maintained by the Brihadeesvarar temple, Thanjavur, with munificent grants, including the daily disbursement of oil, turmeric, betel leaves and nuts.[11]

Nattuvanars were the male accompanists of the devadasi during her performance. They conducted the music orchestra while the devadasi performed her service. Inscriptions reveal that nattuvanars were used to teach the Chola princess Kuntavai a thousand years ago.[11]

As the Chola empire expanded in wealth and size, they built more temples throughout their country. Soon other emperors started imitating the Chola empire and developed the system.

Mahari Devadasi of Orissa

Little girls forced to be Devdasi.

Unlike other parts of India, the devadasis of the Jagannath temple complex in the eastern state of Orissa have never practised prostitution, and have been expected to remain celibate from the time they became devadasis. Devadasi is a name given to a group of women who danced in the temple premises. The word devadasi or mahari means "those great women who can control natural human impulses, their five senses and can submit themselves completely to God (Vachaspati)." Mahari means Mohan Nari that is, the woman belonging to God. Sri Chaitanayadev had defined devadasis as 'Sebaets' who served God through dance and music. Pankaj Charan Das, the oldest Guru of Odissi classical dance, who comes from a Mahari family, explains Mahari as Maha Ripu -Ari (one who conquers the five main ripus - enemies ).[12]

The beginning of the decline of the Mahari tradition started with the Muslim invasion of Orissa in the 14th century. They were exploited and for the first time the Purdah system appeared, ostensibly to guard the women-folk. The gradual degeneration of the devadasi tradition, which had started since the attack of Sultan Shah in 1360 A.D. continued. This was because the social, cultural & political scene was changing rapidly and women, in general, were losing their independence and power.

The Orissa Gazette of 1956 lists nine devadasis and 11 temple musicians. By 1980, only four devadasis were left – Harapriya, Kokilprabha, Paroshmoni and Shashimoni. Now only Shashimoni and Paroshmoni are alive. The daily ritualistic dance had stopped long ago. Now this twosome serve in a few of the yearly temple rituals like Nabakalebar, Nanda Utsav and Duar Paka during Bahura Jatra.[12]

Yellamma cult of Karnataka in South India

In the state of Karnataka in the region of South India the devadasi system was followed for over 10 centuries. Chief among them was the Yellamma cult.[13]

There are many stories about the origin of the Yellamma cult. The most prevalent one says that Renuka was the daughter of a Brahmin, married to sage Jamadagni and was the mother of five sons. She used to bring water from the river Malaprabha for the sage's worship and rituals. One day while she was at the river, she saw a group of youths engaged themselves in water sports and forgot to return home in time which made Jamadagni to suspect her chastity. He ordered his sons one by one to punish their mother but four of them refused on one pretext or the other. The sage cursed them to become eunuchs and got her beheaded by his fifth son, Parashuram. To everybody's astonishment, Renuka's head multiplied by tens and hundreds and moved to different regions. This miracle made her four eunuch sons and others to become her followers, and worship her head.[14]

Colonial era

Toward the end of the 19th century, there was a spurt of social movements in India. Nationalism and search for national identity led to social movements relating to devadasis. These movements can be classified into two categories: Reformists/Abolitionists and Revivalists.

Reformists and abolitionists

Reformists and abolitionists conceived of the devadasi practice as a social evil and considered many Devadasi to be prostitutes. The first anti-Nautch and anti-dedication movement was launched in 1882. "Their main aim was to do away with this system. Reform lobbyists were drawn mainly from missionaries, doctors, journalists and social workers. They urged the abolition of all ceremonies and procedures by which girls dedicated themselves as Devadasis of Hindu shrines. They organized seminars and conferences to create a public opinion against the Devadasi system. In the later part of 1892 an appeal was made to the viceroy and governor general of India and to the governor of Madras. This appeal also defines the position of the anti-nautch movement (Jogan Shankar, 1990).

For the reform lobbyists — Christian missionaries, doctors, journalists, administrators and social workers — it was precisely these features of the devadasi institution which were reprehensible in the utmost. The portrayal of the devadasi system as "prostitution" sought to advertise the grotesqueness of the subject population for political ends, while the British colonial authorities officially maintained most brothels in India.[citation needed] For those who supported imperialism on the grounds of its "civilizing" function, programs of reform had ideological rewards.

Some journals and newspapers like The Indian Social Reformer and Lahore Purity Servant supported the reformist or abolitionist movement. The movement initially concentrated on building public opinion and enlisting members to refuse to attend Nautch parties as well as to refuse to invite devadasis to festivities at their homes. Around 1899, the anti-Nautch and puritan movement turned its attention to stopping dedications. The anti-Nautch movement paved the way for anti-dedication movement.

The social reform movements, spearheaded by Ram Mohan Roy, Periyar, Muthulakshmi Reddy, S. Muthiah Mudaliar, Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, M. Krishnan Nair, C. N. Annadurai, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Govind Ranade, Dhondo Keshav Karve, and other prominent social thinkers, questioned the practice of devadasi system and pleaded for its abolition.

Bhagyareddy Varma launched a movement against devadasi pratha, forcing the Nizam to declare it a crime.


The Hindu revival movement consciously stepped outside the requirements of state electoral politics and western scientific traditions. The movement received strong support from the Theosophical Society of India, whose anti-official stance and strong interest in Indian home rule bound them with the revival of dance and music.

Pioneers like Madam H.P. Blavatsky and Colonel H.S. Olcott, the founders of the Theosophical movement, had undertaken an extensive tour of South India and propagated the revival of devadasi institutions and the associated art of sadir. They gained support from some sections of the native elite by their public denouncement of western Christian morality and materialism. In 1882, the Theosophical Society of India had set up its headquarters in Adyar, Chennai with the set goal of working towards the restoration of India's ancient glory in art, science, and philosophy.

The support later given to a revival of sadir as Bharatnatyam by the Theosophical Society was largely due to the efforts of Rukmini Devi Arundale, an eminent theosophist, and E. Krishna Iyer. She took up the cause of evolution of sadir and Bharatnatyam, another traditional dance.

The Theosophical Society Adyar provided the necessary funds and organization to back Arundale as the champion for India’s renaissance in the arts, especially Bharatnatyam. The revivalists tried to present the idealistic view of the institution of devadasi. According to their view, it was the model of the ancient temple dancer as pure, sacred, and chaste women, as they were originally.

They stressed that the dance of devadasi was a form of "natya yoga" to enhance an individual's spiritual plane. The revivalists wanted to preserve the traditional form of sadir dance by purifying it. As a consequence of purification, some modifications were introduced into the content of the dance, which was strongly criticized by dancer Balasaraswati and other prominent representatives of the traditional devadasi culture. The revivalists mostly belonged to Brahmin dominated Theosophical circles. Many Brahmin girls started to learn the dance from devadasis.

Legislative initiatives

The first legal initiative to outlaw the devadasi system dates back to the 1934 Bombay Devadasi Protection Act. This act pertained to the Bombay province as it existed in the British Raj. The Bombay Devadasi Protection Act made dedication of women illegal, whether consensual or not. According to this act, marriage by a devadasi was to be considered lawful and valid, and the children from such wedlock were to be treated as legitimate. The Act also laid down grounds for punitive action that could be taken against any person or persons found to be involved in dedications, except the woman who was being dedicated. Those found guilty of such acts could face a year’s imprisonment, a fine, or both. The 1934 Act also provided rules, which were aimed at protecting the interests of the devadasis. Whenever there was a dispute over ownership of land involving a devadasi, the local Collector was expected to intervene.

In 1947, the year of independence, the Madras Devadasi Prevention of Dedication Act outlawed dedication in the southern Madras Presidency.

The devadasi system was outlawed in all of India in 1988, yet some devadasis still practice illegally [2].

Devadasi practices

A photograph of two Devadasis taken in 1920s in Tamilnadu, South India

The devadasi practices have changed considerably over the last centuries.

Dedication process

From the late medieval period until 1910, the Pottukattu or tali-tying dedication ceremony, was a widely advertised community event requiring the full cooperation of the local religious authorities. It initiates the a young girl into the devadasi profession and is performed in the temple by the priest. In the Brahminical tradition marriage is viewed as the only religious initiation (diksha) permissible to women. Thus the dedication is a symbolic "marriage" of the pubescent girl to the temple's deity.

In the sadanku or puberty ceremonies, the devadasi-initiate consummates her marriage with an emblem of the god borrowed from the temple as a stand-in 'bridegroom'. From then onward, the devadasi is considered a nitya sumangali: a woman eternally free from the adversity of widowhood.

She would then perform her ritual and artistic duties in the temple. The puberty ceremonies were an occasion not only for temple honor, but also for community feasting and celebration in which the local elites also participated. The music and dance and public display of the girl also helped to attract patrons.

Religious duties

Devadasis performed various duties as part of the temple deity's worship. The exact nature of these duties varies with region. According to rules concerning temple worship (Agamas), dance and music are necessary ingredients of daily puja of deties in temples. These religious duties are uncontested and are a widely celebrated part of the life of the devadasi temple servant. These variations are described later in this section.

Sexual aspects

Whereas in places such as Orissa, devadasis were traditionally celibate, in some other places a devadasi would usually acquire a "patron" after her "deflowering ceremony". Patronship in a majority of cases is achieved at the time of the dedication ceremony itself. The patron who secures this right of spending the first night with the girl can pay a fixed sum of money to maintain a permanent liaison with the devadasi, pay to maintain a relationship for a fixed amount of time, or terminate the liaison after the deflowering ceremony. A permanent liaison with a patron does not bar the girl from entertaining other clients, unless he specifies otherwise. In case the girl entertains, other men have to leave the girl’s house when her patron comes.

In Tamil Nadu

Amrit Srinivasan has described devadasi practices in Tamilnadu:

Traditionally the young devadasi underwent a ceremony of dedication to the deity of the local temple which resembled in its ritual structure the upper caste Tamil marriage ceremony. Following this ceremony, she was set apart from her non-dedicated sisters in that she was not permitted to marry and her celibate or unmarried status was legal in customary terms. Significantly, however she was not prevented from leading a normal life involving sex with individuals of her choice and childbearing. The very rituals which marked and confirmed her incorporation into temple service also committed her to the rigorous emotional and physical training in the classical dance, her hereditary profession. In addition, they served to advertise in a perfectly open and public manner her availability for sexual liaisons with a proper patron and protector. Very often in fact, the costs of temple dedication were met by a man who wished thus to anticipate a particular devadasi's favours after she had attained puberty. It was crucially a women's 'dedicated' status which made it a symbol of social prestige and privilege to maintain her. The devadasi's sexual partner was always chosen by 'arrangement' with her mother and grandmother acting as prime movers in the veto system. Alliance with a Muslim, a Christian, or a lower caste was forbidden while a Brahmin or member of the royal elite was preferred for the good breeding and/or wealth he would bring into the family. The non-domestic nature of the contract was an understood part of the agreement with the devadasi owing the man neither any householding services nor her offspring. The children in turn could not hope to make any legal claim on the ancestral property of their father whom they met largely in their mother's home when he came to visit.


The Orissa Gazette of 1956 mentions some occasions where the devadasis danced. They had two daily rituals. The Bahar Gaaunis would dance at the Sakaala Dhupa. Lord Jagannath, after breakfast, would give Darshan to the bhaktas (the devotees). In the Main hall, a devadasi accompanied by musicians and the Rajguru, the court guru, would dance, standing near the Garuda sthambha (pillar). This dance could be watched by the audience. They would perform only pure dance here. The Bhitar Gaunis would sing at the Badashringhar, the main ceremony for ornamenting and dressing the God. Lord Jagannath, at bedtime, would be first served by male Sebaets- they would fan Him and decorate Him with flowers. After they would leave, a Bhitar Gaauni would then enter the room, stand near the door (Jaya Vijay) and sing Gita Govinda songs, and perhaps perform a ritualistic dance. After a while, she would come out and announce that the Lord has gone to sleep and then the guard would close the main gate.

Yellamma devotees in Karnataka

Dedication ceremony

An elaborate ceremony is held in order to initiate the Jogathis (female) and Jogappa (male) volunteers in the service of Goddess Yellamma. New followers have to bathe in three holy ponds and proceed to the head priest accompanied by community elders and other members of the family. The priests give them a long sermon on what they have to do please Yellamma. They have to identify themselves with the very poor and unfortunate ones and serve the society. At least twice a year they have to visit the Yellamma shrine on full moon days to express and confirm their obedience. During this semi-annual ritual, they must be nude; preferably totally nude. If not, they have to cover their bodies with Neem foliage or scanty clothes. Such rituals, especially in the last decade, have become heavily publicized events due to the youngsters and tourists who gather around such pilgrimage centers to have glimpses of nude and semi-nude human bodies.[15]

Life after dedication

A devadasi's life after dedication was obviously very different centuries ago. Nowadays

After dedication of a girl to the temple, she has to take bath every day early in the morning and should present herself at the temple during morning worship of Yellamma. She is not allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum. But she will bow to the deity from outside. Thereafter she sweeps compound of the temple. Every Tuesday and Friday she goes for yoga along with senior jogatis (yoga teachers). During this period she learns innumerable songs in praise of Yellamma and her son Parashurama. If she shows some aptitude to learn playing instruments she will be given training by her elder jogatis. In Yellampura and other villages Devadasis do not dance but this is performed by eunuch companions. The main functions of Devadasis would be singing and playing stringed musical instruments and Jagate. They form a small group and go for joga, from house to house on every Tuesday and Friday (Jogan Shankar, 1990).

Current reasons for dedication in the Yellamma cult

The followers of Yellamma, who are mostly poor, and illiterate, take a vow to dedicate themselves, their spouses, or their children in the service of Goddess Yellamma when they are unable to face the hardships of life. The typical situations include life-threatening diseases, infertility, and dire financial troubles. These are the people who are primarily responsible for propagating Goddess Yellamma's virtues and achievements and glorify the Goddess.

Even though the majority of the girls dedicated in the past few years or decades come from families with no tradition of devadasis, all of them come from communities with a strong history of the practice. For example, a village named Yellampura in Karnataka, 95 percent of households of Holers have practicing devadasis, which is the highest percentage in the village, followed by Madars.

The system has an obvious economic basis. The sanctions provided by social custom and apparently by religion, combined with economic pressures, have pushed girls from poor families into becoming the wives of a deity. The three factors (religious, social, and economic) are interlinked.

In a 1993 study, Asha Ramesh found that:

Dedication to the Goddess or God was justified on the following grounds:
(a) If the parents were childless, they vowed to dedicate their first child if it happened to be girl.
(b) If there were no sons in the family, the girl child was dedicated and could not marry as she becomes a 'son' for the family (earning the family’s livelihood).
Yet another economic reason contributed to the dedications. If the girl's family had some property, the family ensured that it stayed within the family by turning the girl into 'son' by dedicating her.

Social status

Traditionally, no stigma was attached to the devadasi or to her children, and other members of their caste received them on terms of equality. The children of a devadasi were considered legitimate and devadasis themselves were outwardly indistinguishable from married women of their own community.

Furthermore, a devadasi was believed to be immune from widowhood and was called akhanda saubhagyavati ("forever a woman of good fortune"). Since she was wedded to a divine deity, she was supposed to be one of the especially welcome guests at weddings and was regarded as a bearer of good fortune. At weddings, people would receive a string of the tali (wedding lock) prepared by her, threaded with a few beads from her own necklace. The presence of a devadasi on any religious occasion in the house of an upper caste member was regarded as sacred and she was treated with due respect and was presented with gifts.

Devadasis nurtured the arts - dance and music - to the high levels of today. They were torchbearers of these arts throughout the history of India under various rulers, passing on their legacy until the end of the 19th century. After that period the upper castes started learning these arts, taking away the devadasis' only means of subsistence.

Contemporary statistical data

India's National Commission for Women, which is mandated to protect and promote the welfare of women, has collected information on the prevalence of devadasis in various states. The government of Orissa has stated that the devadasi system is not prevalent in the state. There is only one Devadasi in Orissa, in a Puri temple. Similarly the government of Tamil Nadu wrote that this system has been eradicated and there are now no devadasis in the state. Andhra Pradesh has identified 16,624 devadasis within its state and Karnataka has identified 22,941. The government of Maharashtra did not provide the information as sought by the Commission. However, the state government provided statistical data regarding the survey conducted by them to sanction a "Devadasi Maintenance Allowance". A total of 8,793 applications were received and after conducting a survey 6,314 were rejected and 2,479 devadasis were declared eligible for the allowance. At the time of sending the information, 1,432 Devadasis were receiving this allowance.

In Andhra Pradesh, devadasi practice is prevalent in Karimnagar, Warangal, Nizamabad, Mahaboobnagar, Kurnool, Hyderabad, Ananthapur, Medak, Adilabad, Chittoor, Rangareddy, Nellore, Nalgonda, and Srikakulam. In Karnataka, the practice has been found to exist in Raichur, Bijapur, Belgaum, Dharwad, Bellari and Gulbarga. In Maharashtra, the devadasi practice exists in Pune, Sholapur, Kolhapur, Sangli, Mumbai, Lathur, Usmanabad, Satara, Sindhudurg and Nanded. Devadasis exist in temples in Goa in some form or the other (prominent Indian Classical vocalists like Kesarbai Kerkar, Lata Mangeshkar, Kishori Amonkar, Mogubai Kurdikar belong to Devadasi community of God, called as Kalavant in Konkani).

See also


  1. ^ Crooke, W., Prostitution?, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. X, Eds., James Hastings and Clark Edinburg, Second Impression, 1930.
  2. ^ Iyer, L.A.K, Devadasis in South India: Their Traditional Origin And Development, Man in India, Vol.7, No. 47, 1927.
  3. ^ Hinduism and prostitution
  4. ^ Donors, Devotees, and Daughters of God: Temple Women in Medieval Tamil Nadu Leslie C. Orre
  5. ^ Devadasi. (2007). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved July 4, 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica
  6. ^ P.M. Nair, IPS (2004-07-18) (PDF). A Report on Trafficking in Women and Children in India 2002-2003. National Human Rights Commission, Government of India. Retrieved 2007-01-31. 
  7. ^ Jogan Shankar (2004). Devadasi Cult - A Sociological Analysis (Second Revised Edition). New Delhi - Ashish Publishing House. 
  8. ^ "Devadasis (Prohibition of Dedication) Act, 1982" (PDF). Karmataka Gazette (Government of Karnataka) IV-2A (Extraordinary) No. 75. February 2, 1982.,%201982-new-29.pdf. Retrieved 2007-01-31. 
  9. ^ "`Project Combat' launched to eradicate `Devadasi' system". The Hindu. 2006-01-30. Retrieved 2007-01-31. 
  10. ^ Bayadère. Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved February 1, 2008 from Oxford English Dictionary.
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ a b Mahari of Orissa
  13. ^ Yellamma Cult
  14. ^ Yellamma Slaves
  15. ^ Deccan Herald article about Yellamma Cult

Further reading

  • Altekar, A.S., The Position of Women in Hindu Civilization, Benaras: Motilal Banarasi Das, 1956.
  • Amrit Srinivasan, "Reform and Revival: The Devadasi and Her Dance", Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XX, No. 44, November 2, 1985, pp. 1869–1876.
  • Artal R.O., "Basavis in Peninsular India", Journal of Anthropological Society of Bombay, Vol. IX, No. 2, 1910.
  • Asha Ramesh, Impact of Legislative Prohibition of the Devadasi Practice in Karnataka: A Study, (Carried out under financial assistance from NORAD), May 1993.
  • Banerjee, G.R., Sex Delinquent Women and Their Rehabilitation, Bombay: Tata Institute of Social Sciences, 1953.
  • Basham, A.L., The Wonder That Was India, New York: Grove Press, 1954.
  • Chakrabothy, K. (2000). Women as Devadasis: Origin and Growth of the Devadasi Profession. Delhi, Deep & Deep Publications.
  • Chakrapani, C, "Jogin System: A Study in Religion and Society", Man in Asia, Vol. IV, No. II, 1991.
  • Crooke Williams, The Popular Religion and Folklore of Northern India, (Third Reprint), Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1968.
  • Crooke, W., "Prostitution", Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. X, Eds., James Hastings and Clark Edinburg, Second Impression, 1930.
  • Desai Neera, Women in India, Bombay: Vora Publishers, 1957.
  • Dubois Abbe J.A and Beachampes H.K., Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1928
  • Dumont Louis, Religion, Politics and History in India, The Hague, Mouton and Co., 1970
  • Dumont Louis, Homo Hierarchius: The Caste System and Its Implications, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1972.
  • Durrani, K.S., Religion and Society, New Delhi: Uppal, 1983.
  • Fuller Marcus B., The Wrongs of Indian Womanhood, Edinburgh: Oliphant Anderson and Ferrier, 1900.
  • Goswami, Kali Prasad., Devadāsī: dancing damsel, APH Publishing, 2000.
  • Gough Kathleen, "Female Initiation Rites on the Malabar Coast", Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, No. 85, 1952.
  • Gupta Giri Raj, Religion in Modern India, New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1983.
  • Heggade Odeyar D., "A Socio-economic strategy for Rehabilitating Devadasis", Social Welfare, Feb-Mar 1983.
  • Iyer, L.A.K, "Devadasis in South India: Their Traditional Origin And Development", Man in India, Vol.7, No. 47, 1927.
  • Jain Devki, Women’s Quest for Power, New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1980.
  • Jogan Shankar, Devadasi Cult – A Sociological Analysis (Second Revised Edition), New Delhi: Ashish Publishing House, 1994.
  • JOINT WOMEN’S PROGRAMME, Regional Centre, Bangalore, An Exploratory Study on Devadasi Rehabilitation Programme Initiated by Karnataka State Women’s Development Corporation and SC/ST Corporation, Government of Karnataka in Northern Districts of Karnataka, Report Submitted to National Commission for Women, New Delhi, 2001-02 (year not mentioned in the report).
  • JONAKI (The Glow Worm), Devadasi System: Prostitution with Religious Sanction, Indrani Sinha (Chief Editor), Calcutta, Vol.2 No.1 1998.
  • Jordens, J.T.F., "Hindu Religions and Social Reform in British India", A Cultural History of India, Ed. A.L. Basham, Clarendon Press,
  • Jordan, K. (2003). From Sacred Servant to Profane Prostitute; A history of the changing legal status of the Devadasis in India 1857-1947. Delhi, Manohar. Oxford, 1975.
  • Kadetotad, N.K., Religion and Society among the Harijans of Yellammana Jogatiyaru Hagu Devadasi Paddati (Jogati of Yellamma and Devadasi Custom), Dharwad, Karnatak University Press (Kannada), 1983.
  • Kala Rani, Role Conflict in Working Women, New Delhi: Chetna Publishers, 1976.
  • Karkhanis, G.G., Devadasi: A Burning Problem of Karnataka, Bijapur: Radha Printing Works, 1959.
  • Levine, P. (2000). "Orientalist Sociology and the Creation of Colonial Sexualities." Feminist Review 65(17): Pages: 5 - 21.
  • Marglin, F.A., Wives of The God-king: Rituals of Devadasi of Puri, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1985.
  • Mies, M. (1980). Indian Women and Patriarchy. Delhi, Concept Publishers.
  • Mies, M. (1986). Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labor. London, Zed Books Ltd.
  • Mukherjee, A.B., "Female Participation in India: Patterns & Associations", Tiydschrift: Voor Econ, Geografie, 1972.
  • Ostor Akos, Culture and Power, New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1971.
  • Patil, B.R., "The Devadasis", in The Indian Journal of Social Work, Vol. XXXV, No. 4, January 1975, pp. 377–89
  • Puekar S.D. and Kamalla Rao, A Study of Prostitution in Bombay, Bombay: Lalwani Publishing House, 1967.
  • Rajaladshmi, Suryanarayana and Mukherjee, "The Basavis in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh", Man in India, Vol. 56, No. 4, 1976.
  • Ranjana, "Daughters Married to Gods and Goddesses", Social Welfare, Feb-Mar 1983, pp. 28–31.
  • Sahoo, B.B, "Revival of the Devadasi system", Indian Journal of Social Work, Vol 58, No 3, 1997.
  • Srinivasan, K., Devadasi (a novel), Madras: Christian Literature Society, 1976.
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  • Devadasi — Devadâsî Les devadâsî littéralement servante de la divinité étaient des jeunes filles consacrées au temple dès leur plus jeune âge, elles étaient considérées comme des épouses de la divinité. À l origine destinées au service de la divinité, elles …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Devadâsi — Devadâsî Les devadâsî littéralement servante de la divinité étaient des jeunes filles consacrées au temple dès leur plus jeune âge, elles étaient considérées comme des épouses de la divinité. À l origine destinées au service de la divinité, elles …   Wikipédia en Français

  • devadasi —    Devadasi literally means, “a servant of god.” This term was applied to women who lived in temples as the wives of the male divinity there. Tradition ally the women were married in a solemn cer emony to the divinity. The women were seen to be… …   Encyclopedia of Hinduism

  • devadasi — ● devadasi nom féminin (sanskrit devadāsī, servante du dieu) Prostituée rituelle rattachée aux temples hindous …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • devadasi — devadàsi ž <indekl.> DEFINICIJA rel. u hinduističkom hramu božja službenica, plesačica, bajadera ETIMOLOGIJA skr. devadasī: božja služavka …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Devadasi — Devadasi, die erste Klasse der Bajaderen, s.d …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Devadâsî —  Ne doit pas être confondu avec La Bayadère. Deux devadâsî à Chennai en 1920. Les devadâsî littéralement servante de la divinité étaient des femmes …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Devadasi — Devadasis in Tamil Nadu um 1920 Devadasis (देवदासी) waren südindische Tempeltänzer und vor allem tänzerinnen, die als „Gottes Dienerinnen“ bei Gottesdiensten oder auch bei weltlichen Veranstaltungen als Tänzerinnen auftraten. Die Devadasis… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • devadasi — de·va·dà·si s.f.inv. TS relig. in India: giovane donna addetta al servizio di un tempio buddista {{line}} {{/line}} DATA: 1817. ETIMO: dal sanscr. devadāsī serva di dio …   Dizionario italiano

  • devadasi — [ˌdeɪvə dα:si] noun (plural devadasis) a female dancer in a Hindu temple. Origin from Sanskrit devadāsī, lit. female servant of a god …   English new terms dictionary

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