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Lone surviving Devadasi in Odisha observes Sabitri Brata


Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Puri, May 28:

Nonagenarian Sashimani Devi (91), the lone surviving Devadasi of the world famous 12th century Hindu shrine Shree Jagannath Temple in Odisha, observed Sabitri Brata by fasting for the well being of her ‘husband’ Lord Jagannath today.

Picture Courtesy: sacredspaceblog.com
Picture Courtesy: sacredspaceblog.com

The frail Sashimani is considered the human consort of Lord Jagannath as she was ceremonially married to the deity and became a Devadasi while she was only seven.

Like any other Odia married women, Sashimani too wore new clothes, bangles and sported vermilion on her forehead and observed Sabitri Brata.

“Lord Jagannath is my husband. So, it is only natural that I pray for His long life,” said Sashimani, her voice quivering.

“I did not marry anyone because I was married to Jagannath,” said Sashimani, who stays in a house a stone’s throw away from the 12th century shrine.

Sashimani was helped by her disciple and Mahari dancer Rupashree Mahapatra in observing the ritual of Sabitri Brata.

Her poor health has prevented her from visiting the temple though she stays very close to the temple, said Rupashree.

Sashimani recollected that she stopped dancing in the temple when she was about 40.