Odissi Classical and
Sacred Temple Dance of India
In ancient India the temple was the center of learning, culture, religion and art. In Odisha, in north eastern India, in the temple of Lord Jagannath, 'Lord of the Universe,' religious rituals, music, and dance were combined together to create the highly sculpturesque and devotional dance style, Odissi.
The Maharis ( Maha- Great, Nari- Lady ) were the temple dancers (Deva Dasi) from the Jagannath temple in Puri, Odisha. The Maharis were married to the temple Diety (Lord Jagannath) and only performed the singing and dancing as daily ritual inside the inner sanctum of the temple for the pleasure of Lord Jagannath.
Costumes and Jewelry
Odissi dance is complemented by intricate filigree silver jewelry pieces. Filigree, in French, means “thin wire,” and in Oriya it is called Tarchasi. This highly skilled art form is more than 500 years old and is traditionally done by local artisans on the Eastern shores of Odisha.
Photography: Andy Mogg