Devadasi Murai

The Cultural Informatics Laboratory(CIL), IGNCA has recently published its first CD on “Devadasi Murai” (remembering Devadasis), in November, 1997. This CD is part of IGNCA’s endeavour to digitise the multidimensional aspects of Brhadisvara Temple, a 50-minute linear journey in sound and image, interactive non-linear access to individual segments and interactive visual simulation of the relationship between pradakshina, darsana and upacara.

Brhadisvara Temple

In the course of history, certain regions have developed into cultural centres attracting people from all parts of India. The study of dynamics of such centres has been the concern of the IGNCA. In the South the focus was on Tanjavur’s Brhadisvara Temple. Group of scholars have been investigating all the aspects of this centre from city planning, architecture, sculpture, painting and literature to socio-economic structures and also their living traditions of ritual practices within the temple, music, dance and rituals closely linked with the architecture of the temple. The dance and sculptures and the karanas in the vimana occupy physical and psychical space of the temple. Cultural Informatics group uses latest technology to capture in computer-generated multimedia the millennia-old traditional multimedia of India’s past and vigorous present.

The term “Devadasi” refers to a female ritual specialist, signifying good luck and well being. Flickering lamps, music and dance are her instruments. A formal ceremony solemnizes her dedication to the deity of the temple. This millennia old tradition has seen great hey days in Tamil Nadu.

Saskia Kersenboom, Associate Professor in Linguistic Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, has researched how texts live through the performing arts of sound, dance and images. This CD is largely based on her book “Nityasumangali” and other audio/visual material collected during her 15-20 year of research in the now not so popular tradition of Devadasis in temples of South India.

Neena Ranjan



Newsletter | List of Newsletter ]