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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.), Jaipur

Mawli or Mavli (मावली) is a deity worshipped by Jats, as well as other communities in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra states.

Mavli temples

Every village has a temple of the deity. The offerings to Mavli is lapsi or rice. Sometimes seven pindas are offered.


Some villagers tell that Mavli was a daughter of some king in Nagaur. She had six sisters and one brother Gorla. The seven offerings are for all of them. It is belief that they suddenly disappeared from palainquin due to supernatural powers and never came back. Villagers think the Mavli moves in sky during nights in palainquin. It is believed that Mavli rectifies some physical disorders. The bride and bridegroom in Rajasthan first visit the Mavli temple to get blessings.

Mavli in Bastar

In Bastar area in Chhatisgarh near Orissa tribal people worship goddess Mavli Devi. She is one of goddesses worshipped by Muria, Mahara and Rawat communities. Tribal Villagers believe that this Devi protects villagers from evil effects.

Bastar Dussehra: Dassehra in Bastar is different from other places where it is linked with Lord Rama or the Ramayana. Bastar is in Dandakarnya, where Lord Rama is believed to have spent the 14 years of his exile. Yet Bastar Dassehra has nothing to do with Lord Rama or the Ramayana.

Here, instead of rejoicing over the killing of Ravana, the tribals celebrate Dassehra as a congregation of Devi Mavli ( Bastar's native deity, revered as the "elder sister" of Devi Danteshwari, the family goddess of the ruling Kakatiya family), and all her sisters. Hundreds of priests bring flower-bedecked local deities to the Danteshwari temple in Jagdalpur, arriving with all pomp and show.[1]

Kalash Sthapana, Installation Of The Urns: On the first day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin, the navaratri (nine holy nights) part of Bastar Dassera begins with the installation of the holy urns in the temples of Danteshwari, Maoli and Kankalin devis in Jagdalpur. The Brahmins begin sacred recitations, which continue for nine days and nights.

Jogi Bithai, The Jogi's Penance: On the evening of the first day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin, a jogi (youth) from the Halba tribe sits buried shoulder-deep in a pit in the Sirasar, doing penance for the success of the festival. Sacrifice of a goat and seven mangur -fish precede his vigil. Rath Parikrama, Chariot Circuit: A day after the jogi has commenced his penance, the 4-wheeled flower-chariot, phool-rath, begins to circumambulate the Mavli Temple every evening. This continues till the seventh day. On the eighth and ninth days, the chariot is rested.

Nisha Jatra, The Nocturnal Festival: On the eighth day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin, (better known as Durgashtami) a procession of lights leads to the puja mandap in the Sunday Square, Itwari. This spectacular ritual is known as nisha jatra.

Jogi Uthai, Raising of the Jogi: On the ninth day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin, the penance of the jogi comes to an end. He is ceremoniously raised from the pit he sat buried in, and honored with consecrated gifts.

Mavli Parghav, Reception of the Devi Mavli: In Bastar Mavli, the pre-Kakatiya presiding deity of Bastar, considered an elder sister of Danteshwari, is the Chief Guest in the congregation of deities. She is borne from Dantewada in the doli (palanquin) of Danteshwari. She arrives, borne on the shoulders of four media swaying under her spell, to a spectacular reception. She is then led to the palace-temple of Danteshwari.

Bheetar Raini, The Inner Circuit: On the tenth ( Vijaydashmi ) day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin, the 8-wheel chariot runs the usual circumambulatory course around the Maoli temple. It has a swing in the top tier where the king used to sit. Currently, the raj-guru sits here, holding the chhatra (holy umbrella) of Devi Danteshwari. After it has completed its inner circuit and been parked for the night, around 400 Marias and Murias 'steal' it away to Kumdakot, a sal grove about 2 km away on the southern bank of river Indravati.

Baahar Raini, The Outer Circuit: On the eleventh day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin, the king used to visit Kumdakot to offer the goddess rice cooked from the new harvest. He would then partake of her prasad. After this, the chariot would be (still is) pulled back ceremoniously through the main road to the Lion Gate of the palace.

Kachan Jatra, Thanksgiving: This is a thanksgiving ceremony organized on the twelfth day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin to celebrate the successful conclusion of the festival through the grace of Kachan Devi.

Muria Durbar, Tribal Chieftains' Conference: The same day the tribal chieftains confer with the elected representatives and administrative officers on matters relating to public welfare. Formerly, the king presided over this conference.

Ohadi, Farewell to the Deities: On the thirteenth day of the bright moon in the month of Ashwin, the deities brought from various parts of Bastar are bade a ceremonious farewell. Mavli, come from Dantewada is also bid a farewell with new clothes and ornaments which go to adorn the main idol in Dantewada.


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