Apsaras are supernatural beings: they appear as young women of great beauty and elegance who are proficient in the art of dancing.
They are the wives of the Gandharvas, court servants of Indra. They dance to the music made by their husbands, usually in the palaces of the gods, and entertain gods and fallen heroes.
In their assignment as caretakers of fallen heroes, they may be compared to the valkyries of Norse mythology. Apsaras are said to be able to change their shapes at will, and specially rule over the fortunes of gaming and gambling. Urvasi, Menaka, Rambha and Tilottama are the most famous among them. Apsaras are sometimes compared to the muses of ancient Greece, with each of the 26 Apsaras at Indra's court representing a distinct aspect of the performing arts.
Apsaras are associated with water; thus, they may be compared to the nymphs, dryads and naiads of ancient Greece. They are also associated with fertility rites. In Hinduism, the lower Apsaras are sometimes regarded as nature spirits who may lure men to their deaths; in this respect they may be compared to the Slavic Rusalki or the Greek sirens.