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Dances of Heavenly Nymphs

Urvashi, Menka, Rambha and Tillottama are the most famous and are adept in the art of music and dancing...

Last Updated On: Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Apsaras, the dancing girls of Indra's court live in Amarvati, the capital of gods and goddesses located on Mount Meru. They display their dancing excellence before gods on the occasion of festivities and victories. They are physically very attractive and captivating and follow their master Kama Deva. They are also called "the daughters of delight" because they were produced incidentally at the churning of the milk-ocean. Their beauty not withstanding, nor gods nor demons accepted them as their wives, and so they were made the wives of all and celestial courtesans. As skilled dancers and musicians, they symbolize delights and joys of heaven. They alone of the heaven are capable of falling in love with mortals on the earth, and are sent by Indra for this transgression. They are sent by their King Indra to entice, seduce and cause the fall of the great rishis and ascetics. They can change their shapes at will. Urvashi, Menka, Rambha and Tillottama are the most famous and are adept in the art of music and dancing. Beautiful and voluptuous, they are the consorts of Gandharvas. Their dance is essentially lasya type. In the Ramayana they have been described as under:

"Then from the agitated deep up sprung
The legion of Apsarases, so named
That to be watery element they owed
Their being. Myriads were they born, and all
In ventures heavenly clad, and heavenly gems;
Yet more divine their semblance, rich
With all gifts of grace, of youth and beauty.
A train in numerous followed; yet thus fair,
Nor god nor demon sought their wedded love;
Thus Raghava! They still remain-their charms
The common treasure of the host of heaven."


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