Earth is supposed to have a soul. Every village holding has a soul or spirit (khetr Pal)
and that spirit has to be propitiated because ploughing of the tiller disturbs it. Mother
Earth is offered incense, or flowers or a goat or a sheep. Usually a stone or a
wooden post is ceremoniously set up in a corner of the field as the symbol. In the same
way the mountains and their peaks have deities, good or bad. Stones are thrown in a heap
or flags are fixed up at important tops and dangerous positions for the trekker. Large
trees usually are believed to offer shelter to the banbirs or forest spirits. The banbirs
are said to live in the pomegranate, lime, tuna, fig, kainth, simal and walnut trees.
The banbirs are credited with the power to cause sickness or
epidemics in men or cattle. These are believed to be female spirits who are regarded as
the guardians of the cattle and have to be propitiated. If soil, mountain and forests have
their particular spirits it goes without saying that water should also have them. Birbatal
is the spirit of water and is believed to be living in every river and stream or large
water sheet. The Jaljogans are also supposed to inhabit springs and streams. If a man and
particularly a woman commits suicide in a stream, tank or river she will become a Jaljogan
and it is said when she feels lonely she drags a bather to death. Naturally some mountains
in this region with forests and large water patches will have the Nag or the serpent as
the presiding deity. The Nag cult is epitomized in Kelang Nag whose present temple is at
"Kalihar Nag, as was his original name, now better
known as Kelang, came from British-Lahul. Fifteen or sixteengenerations ago cattle disease
was prevalent at Kugti, and the people of that village vowed to hold a fair, if it abated.
Tradition says that Kelang, in the form of a serpent, rode on the horns of a ram from
Lahul,and stopped at Dughi two miles from the present temple.