Varanasi, Apr 12 : Sex workers danced through the night on the second day of ahree-day festival at a cremation ground in this hugely frequented pilgrim city.
The ritual is followed by sex workers. Every year they sing and dance and pray for a better life in their next birth. The ritual coincides with the Navaratri festival.
The sex workers wearing 'ghungroos' (anklets) and garish make-up, sang and danced away through the night.
The women consider it a blessing to be able to continue the nearly 450- year-old annual festive tradition. They believe that they will be reborn as high caste women.
"We come here every year to pray for a better life in our next birth. We sing and dance here. We feel happy. Baba (Lord Shiva) is kind to us and he blesses us," said, Nitu Singh a sex worker participating in the event.
Described as "Nagar Vadhus", literally meaning "City's Brides", the sex workers are not allowed entry into temples, as they are considered 'impure'.
Several hundreds thronged the cremation ground to watch the contrast, where the funeral pyres rage on one side and there was loud music and revelry on the other.
"They dance and sing here so that they have a better life in their next birth and are able to be rid of this (prostitution)," said Baba Shamshannath, a priest.
Sociologists say extreme deprivation is the cause of prostitution in the country rather than sexual and psychological aberrations.
Prostitution is officially banned in India but is practiced widely.