Thus the embodiment of Shiva as Nataraja, Lord of dance, had great significance to the original Dravidians, as they were already practitioners of various dance forms. The incarnation of Nataraja symbolises equilibrium and balance of movement as well as the feeling of tranquillity. The Damru, a small sized drum, on the right hand of Nataraja, appears as the symbol of creation. The Dravidians were very much interested in the craft of dancing and it is evident by the various excavations that revealed the other dance forms such as Tullals and dances to appease the devil, which were of authentic Dravidian origin. In the numerous other temples of Shiva of that period, this aspect of the lord is portrayed through the decorative temple architecture. Dasi Attam, thus, mirrors the popular culture of the Dravidians.
The great Buddhist period, which vastly influenced most parts of the country, had also affected Dasi Attam to some extent. The Buddhist proponents considered dancing in the temples were unnecessary, mostly because by that time, most of the devadasis were getting engaged in immoral activities, which were not suited to divine service. Even Samrat Ashoka, the great king who became a Buddhist monk, who had travelled through out the country, was not able to filter into the southern region of the country. The Dasi Attam dance form largely remained unaffected by all this and the devadasis re-emerged to perform in the temples. With the spread of Buddhism around the globe, its various cultures, including dance, also travelled to different countries. The dance forms of Cambodia and Bali, bears a resemblance to the basic forms of Dasi Attam.
After this period, with the revival of Brahminism, the devadasis again recouped their grandeur and the demand for their performances in different temples increased a lot. The architecture of the temples was decorated with various sculptures of female deities in numerous dance postures. Most of the temple surface was covered with sculptures and figures of the goddesses in various dance formations. The Chidambaram temple of South India, portrays the 108 Karanas (dance postures) mentioned in the Natya Shastra.
During the twelfth century, with the rise of Vaishnavism, several temples and sculptures, encircling the art, including dance, of that era were erected. These temples served the purpose of encouraging and supporting the devadasis and the music performers known as Nattuvanars. The temples of Halebid and Belur are of special importance to Dasi Attam, as they depict the legend of the Queen Shantala Devi. Shantala, the royal dancer, performed in these temples, and was considered as the greatest dancer of that period. With the arrival of vaishnavism, a range of new songs and dance moves were evolved, inspired by the divine love story of Radhaand Lord Krishna.
Through out the various periods, even though the other parts of the country were hugely affected and influenced by various foreign powers, South India remained basically unaffected, and thus had the opportunity to develop Dasi Attam, which was deeply rooted in its culture.
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