An apsara was a celestial damsel or nymph (devastri) found in Indra’s heaven, Devaloka. Apsaras were born at the Churning of the Milky Ocean. Another version, in the Manu Shastra, stated that these damsels were created along with the seven Manus. They were called wives of the gods and daughters of pleasure.
The thirteen apsaras were also said to have come from the union of KasHyapa and Arishta. The apsaras were known as heavenly charmers (as was Urvasi) of heroes and temptresses (as were Menaka and Rambha) of sages. Their numbers swelled from 13 to 34 to 1,000 and finally to 35 million. Their roles changed from celestials in Indra’s court to wives of the gandharvas (celestial musicians) to the reward for warrior-heroes in Indra’s heaven.