By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Gramadevata, GrAmadevatA, Graamadevataa
Grāmadevatā literally means ‘village deity’.
The concept of grāmadevatā is very ancient. Grāmadevatās are found all over modern day India in either their own shrines or under big trees (especially in the rural and tribal areas).
They are guardian deities situated at the entrance of the villages. Their main duty is to protect the village from epidemic diseases, natural disasters and evil spirits. They are the mother-goddesses mainly the aspects of Pārvatī.
Clay images of horses and elephants are often placed in the premises of these deities.
Grāmadevatās are worshiped by the villagers either regularly or on important occasions like:
- Beginning of agricultural year
- Protection of the crops
- Prevention of diseases
- Auspicious ceremonies in the family like marriage or birth
- Grāmadevatā is the village deity or a tutelary deity.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore