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Why this course?
This course is based on the “Devadasi Tradition” of Odisha and the states of southern India. This course is structured around the temple rituals, and dance traditions practised by the devadasis. It will also shed light on the roles and the status of the devadasis in the pre-colonial era. This course is an intersection between theory and practice and will be studied based on archaeological, historical and pictorial evidence. It will delve deep into the cultural practices and goes beyond and discusses the influence of Devadasis in the present art and culture scenario with special reference to Bharatnatyam and Odissi dance styles. It will develop arguments on Devadasis’s performance and the daily rituals as an offering or seva based on different scholarly works. This course is curated to create awareness about the rich cultural past.

This course is interdisciplinary and curated especially to give a first-hand experience by interacting with community practitioners. Students will also learn about a few significant dance temple sculptures. This course will discuss the decline of the Devadasi tradition during colonial rule and its present influence on Indian classical dances. This discourse will provide an introduction to the tradition of Devadasi from the indigenous knowledge systems approach.

Important note: This will be a live course where the students have to attend the classes regularly conducted by the instructor. However, we will provide recorded videos of the sessions later on, in case the student misses his/her classes.


Course Information

Duration: 12 Weeks / 3 Months / 24 Lectures / 24 hours
Lecture: 1 hour each
Frequency: Twice a Week
Medium: English
Delivery: Online through CIS Course Platform
Delivery Timings: Every Tuesday and Thursday, 8 A.M. IST Morning
Enrollment Last Date: 31st January 2023
Course Start Date: 2nd February 2023


What we will learn

1. The origin of ancient Indian temple rituals, will provide an introduction to the Devadasi tradition.
2. The historical significance and origins of the devadasi tradition in Odisha and South Indian states.
3. The roles and status of Devadasis in society and in the temple.
4. The impact of the dancing tradition of devadasis in the present classical dances of India
5. The influence of Devadasi traditions in the temple sculptures
6. Recognising different dancing sculptures of different temples in India
7. Identifying the different names of the stone-carved postures of the dancers in the temples.
8. About the Anti-Nautch Act and the decline of the Devadasi status in the Colonial period.
9. A brief account of the present dancing style of the Devadasis.


What You’ll Get
1. Special guest interactions with subject-matter experts and community practitioners, interviewed by Sriradha Paul.
2. Special insights into the fieldwork of Sriradha Paul through photos and video clips of interaction with community practitioners and temple sculptures, which formed the basis of this work.
3. Somatic practice experience taking inspiration from the temple sculptures.
4. Powerpoint presentations which will make you learn faster and more thoroughly.
5. Indus University certificate to certify that you have gone through and passed this course.
6. Reference materials such as online links and books for further study.
7. Interactive sessions with the instructor from time to time.

Refund Policy: Since these courses are available at subsidised rates, there is no provision for refund once you have enrolled for a course. In case you are not able to attend the course due to any unforeseen circumstances, we can accommodate you in a different course in lieu of the course you originally enrolled for.


Course Curriculum

Recorded Classes
Session 1 (2.2.23) 00:00:00
Session 2(7.2.23) 00:00:00
Session 3 (9.2.23) 00:00:00
Session 4 (14.2.23) 00:00:00
Session 5 (22.4.23) 00:00:00
Session 6 (23.2.23) 00:00:00
Session 7 (24.2.23) 00:00:00
Session 8 (2.3.23) 00:00:00
Session 9 (7.3.23) Part 1 00:00:00
Session 9 (7.3.23) Part 2 00:00:00
Session 10 (14.3.23) 00:00:00
Session 11 (23.3.23) 00:00:00
Session 12 (29.3.23) 00:00:00
Session 13 (3.4.23) 00:00:00
Session 14 (13.4.23) 00:00:00
Session 15 (14.4.23) 00:00:00
Session 16.1. (18.4.23) 00:00:00
Session 16.2 (18.4.23) 00:00:00
Session 17.1 (25.4.23) 00:00:00
Session 17.2 (25.4.23) 00:00:00
Session 18.1 (28.4.23) 00:00:00
Session 18.2 (28.4.23) 00:00:00
Session 18.3 (28.4.23) 00:00:00
Session 18.4 (28.4.23) 00:00:00
Session 19 (8.5.23) 00:00:00
Session 20 (9.5.23) 00:00:00
Lesson1: Brief Literary Account of the Devdasi Tradition in India
1.1 Who are Devdasis/ Maharis? 00:00:00
1.2 Selection Procedure of the Devadasis 00:00:00
1.3 Brief Literary account of the Devdasi Tradition (Part 1) 00:00:00
1.4 Brief Literary account of the Devdasi Tradition (Part 2) 00:00:00
Lesson II. Brief Historical Account of the Devdasi Tradition in India
1.1 Brief Historical account of the Devdasi Tradition in the states of South India (Part 1) 00:00:00
1.2 Brief Historical account of the Devdasi/ Maharis Tradition in Odisha (Part 2) 00:00:00
1.3 Different groups of Devadasis/ Maharis 00:00:00
1.4 Roles of different groups of Devadasis/ Maharis 00:00:00
Lesson III. Introduction to the roles of Devadasis in the temple
1.1 Importance of dance and dancers in ritual worship 00:00:00
1.3 Four-fold path for temple service practised by Devadasis 00:00:00
1.4 Involvement of devadasis in the daily rituals and special occasions of temples 00:00:00
Lesson IV. Introduction to the dance repertoire of the Devadasis
1.1 The Dancing Body: Mahari Ritual in Odisha 00:00:00
1.2 Dance repertoire followed in the Puri Jagannath temple in Odisha 00:00:00
1.3 Know the Legendary dancers – Devadasis/Maharis and Case study showing the dances of the Mahari of Puri 00:00:00
1.4 Meet a community practitioner of Puri associated with the Puri Jagannath temple 00:00:00
Lesson V. Decline of the Devadasi Tradition
1.1 The tradition: Interview of a Mahari practitioner 00:00:00
1.2 Status of the Devadasis precolonial era 00:00:00
1.3 Status of the Devadasis after the Anti-Nautch Act 00:00:00
1.4 From the temple to proscenium 00:00:00
Lesson VI. Present Scenario of the Devadasi Tradition
1.1 Trends of present choreographies inspired by the dancing style and music of the Devadasis tradition and Case study on “Sampoorna” by Smt Sharmila Biswas and other contemporary choreographers. 00:00:00
1.2 Translation of the dancing temple sculptures to motion (part 1) 00:00:00
1.3 Practical – Somatic Practice: Translation of the dancing temple sculptures to motion (part 2) 00:00:00
1.4 Recognising and bestowing prestigious national awards to the existing Devadasis 00:00:00
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