Some Folk Beliefs In Ancient Maharashtra

Kalkai Devi


Etlai and Kalkai are two Devis worshiped in the Konkan area of Maharashtra. 

They are supposed to keep a lot of spirits under their control. 

The devotees can go to these temples and borrow these spirits for a certain period of time. 

They have to pay a certain fee for this. 

The devotee approaches the Gurav (priest) of the temple and makes the request. 

The Gurav calls the deity upon his own body (Kaul) and the deity gives permission and fixes the period and fee.

When the devotee goes back home the spirit also accompanies him. 

It is believed that the presence of the spirit brings a lot of fortune and luck to the devotee.

Pipal (Ficus religiosa)  and Umbar (Ficus racemosa) trees are occupied by spirits of Brahmans who are well versed in the Vedas. 

They help people.

The spirits of widows live in the Avla (Phyllanthus emblica) tree. 

The spirits of women dying during childbirth, and menses live in Nasgchampa, Surang, and Kajra trees.

Village deities and spirits are protectors of cattle and crops. 

They should be offered fowls and coconuts annually.

Copper amulets and black threads protect from evil spirits.

Houses and land can be protected from evil spirits by drawing circles around them and giving offerings inside.

Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday are lucky days.

Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday are unlucky days.

Sunday is neutral.

Numbers 2, 6, and 11 are lucky.

Numbers 4, 5, 8, and 10  are unlucky.

Numbers 1,3, 7, and 9 are neutral.

Auspicious omens

  • Brahmans
  • Married woman
  • Cow
  • Five petalled flowers
  • A pot filled with water
  • Throbbing of the the right eyelid in men
  • Throbbing of the left eyelid in women
  • Peacock
  • Blue jay
  • Mongoose
  • Cooked food
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Corn
  • Images of Gods
  • Coconut
  • Fruits
  • White clothes
  • Prostitute
  • Sound of musical instruments
  • Horse
  • Elephant
  • Curd
  • Jackal
  • Lighted lamp
  • Spiritual person
  • A mother
  • Marriage procession
  • Washerman coming with washed clothes

Inauspicious omens

  • Donkey
  • Monkey
  • Pig
  • Snake
  • Buttermilk
  • Oil
  • Firewood
  • Ashes
  • Cotton
  • A person with a disfigured nose
  • Red garland
  • Woman wearing red clothe
  • Woman wearing red clothe
  • Empty vessel
  • Widow
  • Brahmachari
  • Cat crossing the path
  • Barber at work
  • Beggar
  • Sneezing
  • Howling of dogs and jackals
  • Someone asking a question at the time of departure
  • Someone calling from behind at the time of departure
  • Extinguished lamp
  • Two crows playing together
  • Someone who receives charities during death rites
  • Sound of house lizard
  • A person who is in mourning
  • Buffaloe
  • Iron vessel
  • Salt
  • Cowdung cakes
  • Broom
  • Vulture
  • Washerman bringing dirty clothes 

 Source: Indian Antiquary Journal, 1915


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