Came across this post in the blog “The Sacred Space” by Isabel Putinja. It is about the last known Mahari of Puri Jagannath Temple.
There were 21 different sevas and the Maharis would take turns going to the temple to perform the rituals. “Each Mahari had different sevas to perform,” Shashimani explained.. I would dance in the morning when Jagannath would be woken up, and at night when he would be put to sleep. The other sevas were performed by the other Maharis. I would come to the temple for seva four to five times a month. After the other Maharis died, I was the only one left.”
“When the main temple door closed after arati, we would sing and dance inside the sanctum for Lord Jagannath until the door opened again.” Sometimes she would also dance for the god during dhupa, the evening meal. “During dhupa we only danced, we wouldn’t sing. He would take a long time to eat and we would get tired,” she lamented. “We wanted him to eat quickly!” When I asked her what would happen after the temple doors closed for the night, she hastily replied: “Don’t ask me what happens at night time! No dancing!”
Read more here:
Incidentally a documentary about Odissi that includes the interview of Sashimani is to be released in 2014. Follow updates here:
See preview here: