Brothels are illegal de jure but in practice are restricted to certain areas of any given town.Though the profession does not have official sanction, little effort is made to eradicate or impede it.
They occupied a rank next only to priests and their number often reached high proportions.
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.
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.