During past centuries, young girls in India were sometimes sent to live at a Hindu temple, where they went through an initiation ceremony which “married” them to the god or goddess associated with the temple. These girls, who were known as Devadasi, were often only eight or nine years old when they left their families. After they went to live at a temple, they were trained in arts such as music and dance so that they could take part in the elaborate rites performed during most Hindu worship services. Some of them may have also had other duties, such as working on temple decorations or helping to grow the flowers used in the ceremonies.
Originally these Devadasi were virgins from high-caste families, and they were admired and honored throughout their lives. But over the centuries the system slowly changed, until eventually most of the girls came from low-caste families and served as “sacred” temple prostitutes instead of sacred temple virgins. This transition from high-caste virgins to low-caste prostitutes occurred because political and economic changes gradually reduced the funds that temples received from royal patrons and wealthy donors, so that new sources of income were needed.
Read the full article at World Wide Weird Beliefs.