|On one side
there are various higher manifestations of Chandi like Bargabhima Devi, Sarbamangala Devi,
Rankini Devi, Bishalakhi Devi and Kanakadurga while one the other hand there are Jaichandi
of Pitalkathi village, Diyashini Chandi of Phukai village and Mansa Devi scattered
throughout who are considered to be the lesser forms of Shakti. In the midst of deep sal
forests we find small earthen representations of elephants and horses representing various
godlings and these
godlings are as much regarded and worshipped by the various tribes and communities
mentioned as the deities in magnificent temples.
of the lesser godlings are worshipped to ward off particular diseases just as Sitala Devi
is worshipped to avoid small-pox. At Dasagram village there is a big mela for the worship
of tulsichara godling who is the controlling factor for filaria. The Santals, Lodhas,
Mahalis, Bhumijis and the Bagdhis who count in thousands and form the bulk of the
indigenous population do not house their gods and godlings in temples but under trees or
in the jungle. They have their own Gajans and religious melas.
There is hardly any barrier among them. The Kharia mela at
Kanaisahar village, the Santal mela at Baliari village, the gajan at Chorchita village,
the Rathayatra at Narajole, are joined by all of them without any distinction. They
worship the cow and observe the bandhanaparab. They dread the tiger and have various
ceremonies in connection with bhagatpuja. Dance, music, sacrifice of fowls and goats is
common for propitiating their deities.
Some of the festivals connected with the godlings of the indigenous population may be
mentioned. The most important is the tusuparab where tusu, a doll taken as the daughter of
the family is the occasion for songs and music. Indrapuja and Karam are great festivals
among them. The
Santals have their Bahaparab when the sal trees have their first burst of flowers. The
Lodhas have their Dhoolaparab. In this way the entire area of Midnapore offer a
fascinating study of the religious cults, legends and temples.