By Leslie C. Orr

By utilizing epigraphical facts, Leslie C. Orr brings into concentration the actions and identities of the temple girls (devadasis) of medieval South India. This e-book exhibits how temple women's initiative and monetary autonomy concerned them in medieval temple politics and allowed them to set up themselves in roles with specific social and spiritual meanings. This research indicates new methods of realizing the nature of the temple girl and, extra in general, of the jobs of ladies in Indian faith and society.

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Extra info for Donors, Devotees, and Daughters of God: Temple Women in Medieval Tamilnadu (South Asia Research)

Sample text

D. 8501300—as the Chola period, but I must stress at the outset that the Chola kings did not exercise control or even influence over the whole of the Tamil country or through the whole of the period. D. 1279, other powers held sway in various parts of the region—either rulers who identified themselves with one of the other great South Indian dynasties, like the Pallavas or the Pandyas, or local rulers, chiefs, and lords. i The Tamil country and its regions (see Appendix i for an explanation of the definition of district boundaries).

The whole of this 2 veli of land which we the nakarattar of Colakeralapuram agreed to sell, Puventiyacola-manikkam bought and donated as devadanam for the goddess. I, the accountant Mampakkamutaiyan Markantaiyan Civakkohmtan Catturukalamakalatittan, sign this deed of sale that has been declared by these people. He who destroys or seizes this charity will be as one who has sinned on the banks of the Ganges and the shores of Kanyakumari. D. 1119 at the Manukulamahadeva temple in Salukki, North Arcot district.

Mathas were not, as they later came to be, the exclusive preserve of ascetics and members of sectarian elites. These institutions, which came increasingly to be associated with Hindu temples in the course of the Chola period, closely resembled the Jain pallis of early medieval Tamilnadu (Orr 1998). They appear to have served primarily as feeding houses for pilgrims, ascetics, and Brahmans, in addition to being places of worship. 63 Chola period inscriptions mention a wide range of different types of people, whether referring to them in passing as anonymous members of corporate groups or highlighting for posterity their names and affiliations.

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