KENDRAPARA: Devadasi Janha Dasi will continue the age-old tradition of dancing in front of the chariot during the Rath Yatra of Baladevjew temple at Ichhapur this year.
The last Devadasi Taramani Devi, who died six months back at the age of 59, continued the practice for 20 years after the demise of Kiranbala Dasi in 2000, said Executive Officer of Baladevjew temple Balabhadra Patri.
He said 40-year-old Janha is a regular visitor to the temple. In the past, 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 in front of chariots during Rath Yatra. However, they are permitted to sing devotional songs at temples.
“Several devotees pay the Devadasis during Rath Yatra,” said Patri.
Even as the Devadasi tradition was abolished in several temples, in Tulasi Khetra, the tradition has been kept alive. The tradition was stopped at Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri in 2015 after the death of Devadasi Sashimani Devi.