Last of the debadasis Shasimani dead

Puri: Shasimani Devi, the lone surviving ‘debadasi’ of Jagannath temple, passed away at her residence in Dola Mandap Sahi here today after a prolonged illness.

She was 92 and had been suffering from geriatric problems for quite some time.

Shasimani has been living the life of a celibate as she was married to Lord Jagannath at the tender age of seven and considered as the human wife of the deity.

Sources said around 20 debadasis used to dance in the temple in 1920s. By 1980s, however, only four debadasis, including Shasimani, were left in Puri. As per the debadasi tradition, they used to dance in front of the deities during various rituals. The practice, however, faced extinction in 1970s.