In Bharatanatyam, 108 karanas form the basic movements. There are beautiful sculptures of 81 of the 108 karanas inside the chamber of the first tier of the vimana (tower) above the sanctum of the Brihadeeswara temple in Thanjavur, Tamilnadu. Siva, Lord of dance, is portrayed as performing these karanas. Siva is portrayed in these reliefs with four arms. The karana sculptures were discovered in 1956 when Balakrishnan, an employee of the Archaeological Survey of India was removing the weeds on the vimana.
(‘How karana sculptures in Big Temple were discovered,’ T.S. Subramanian, The Hindu Fri Review, Sept 23, 2010)

The Shiva Purana categorically lays down in connection with the building of a temple to Shiva that it should be provided, among other things, with hundreds of beautiful girls who should be proficient in the twin arts of singing and dancing.
(‘Traditions of Indian classical dance,’ Mohan Khokar, chapter ‘Down the centuries’)

The French appetite for the exotic East was obvious from the appearance of travelogues and new literature, as well the first French translation of Kalidasa's Abhigyana Shakuntalam, entitled La Reconnaissance de Sacountala. This was written in 1820 by Antoine-Leonard de Chezy, the first European Professor of Sanskrit. With public curiosity further roused by exposure to Western versions of devadasis on the French stage, the time was ripe for the real artists to be showcased before the French public.
(‘1838: South Indian Dancers Tour Europe,’ Dr. Kusum Pant Joshi, Hinduism Today, Jan - March 2009)

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