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Women competed to win the title of a Nagarvadhu, and it was not considered a taboo The first reference to dancing girls in temples is found in Kalidasa's "Meghadhoot", that the dancing girls were present at the time of worship in the Mahakal Temple of Ujjain.
Regarding the Devadasi concept, some scholars are of the opinion that the custom of dedicating girls to temples probably became quite common in the 6th century CE, as most of the Puranas containing reference to it were written during this period.
A tawaif was a highly sophisticated courtesan who catered to the nobility of India, particularly during the Mughal era.
The tawaifs excelled in and contributed to music, dance (mujra), theatre, and the Urdu literary tradition, and then emergence of modern Indian cinema.
The governments of many Indian princely states had regulated prostitution in India prior to the 1860s.
The destruction of temples beginning of the second millennium CE by Muslim invaders from the northwestern borders of the country and spread through the whole of the country.
In ancient India, there was a practice of the rich asking Nagarvadhu to sing and dance, noted in history as "brides of the town".
Famous examples include Amrapali, state courtesan and Buddhist disciple, described in "Vaishali Ki Nagarvadhu" by Acharya Chatursen and Vasantasena, a character in the classic Sanskrit story of Mricchakatika, written in the 2nd century BC by Śūdraka.
These were usually young Japanese women and girls brought or captured from Japan as sexual slaves.
During the period of Company rule in India by the British East India Company in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and during the subsequent British Raj, the British military established and maintained brothels for its troops across India.