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Family Goddess of The Karmarkar : Kelai Devi

The family goddess of the Karmarkars is Kelai Devi. This place comes within the boundaries of Maye gaon, which is to the east of Dicholi. Maye village is located about 5-6 kilometers from Dicholi. Dicholi-Maye is a journey of 20-25 minutes. The temple is a small one and the idol is made of black stone. It is carved and shines bright. The Goddess is squatting with legs folded and on her two sides there are elephants holding the kalashas (water–jugs).The following letters are seen inscribed at the entrance of the temple: (“May Shri Kelvaya be pleased)

The words Kelai and Kelabai are derived from the word Kelambika. It is mentioned that the temple was built in 1509 A.D. Kelai is regarded the to be the incarnation of Goddess Parvati (Goddess Laxmi).The annual festival of Kelai is held on the 8th ascending moon day of Chaitra month. It is possible to go to Dicholi from Mhapsa, too. The State Transport bus is available. Auto rickshaws for transport from the Bus Station of Dicholi to the temple are  available. The road is good even if it is steeply ascending one. Most of the family gods and goddesses of Konkanstha people are located in the Konkan area, but the family goddess of the Karmarkars is located in Goa, because the temple is near the tree from which this name of Karmarkar came into being, and the Karmarkars have accepted her as their family Goddess. In the past, this area was part of Maharashtra. It is heard that despite the Karmarkars, Kelai is the family goddess of the people with surnames of Kelkars and Phadke.

The most astonishing fact is that most of the Karmarkars knew Kelai to be their family goddess but did not know the exact location of the temple. As a result none of the Karmarkars could go to see the goddess. After much of research, we came to know that the location is in Goa and we went to see the family deity Kelai. Some of those who took the lead to prepare the Karmarkars Family History went there and confirmed that Kelai is our family goddess. And the goddess also gave that verdict. The priest of the Kelai temple is named Vaze, who stays at Maye village.


In addition to the above, the Karmarkars have two village goddesses namely “Navalai’ and “Pavalai”, and “Rakhai” as the goddess of protection. There is a tradition of offering (food) to them 5 times in a year, namely  on the first day of Kartik  Pratipada (Diwali), dev Diwali, Kojagiri Pournima, Narali Pournima and Falgun Pournima, respectively. In the family of Karmarkars of Mangalwedha, there is a tradition of Gondhal of Tuljabhavani goddess of Tuljapur after every auspicious function in the family. The Karmarkars of Nachana offer their food naivaidya to the Goddess saying the words, “Bhavani Vishweshwar Prasanna.” The annual festivals of these village deities are celebrated on the Pournima day of Falgun month. The annual festival of Navalai and Pavalai begins on the fifth ascending moon day of Falgun month and continues till the 5th descending moon day of Falgun month. All the villagers together celebrate this festival, because the people of Nachana also regard these to be their village deities. In the past, these deities were placed in the open are outside the village and they are still there, but now, their replicas are placed inside the village, and they are placed in the land given by the Karmarkars.
The people living at the location of the deities and those living in the surrounding area of 5 miles had a dispute over the Palanquin process and Prasad – the protocol about the priority respect and honour to do this. The Sawants began to say that the deities in the open belong to the Sawant family and others have nothing to do with them. Therefore, the villagers gave up going to those deities in the open and the Karmarkars took lead and gave them some portion of their land where the deities are now placed. This is the information given to us. During the festival days, the Palanquin first goes around in the vicinity of Nachana and comes back to the building of the Karmarkars on Falgun Pournima. Then, there is the offering of food and coconut and a naivedya. The Palanquin is taken in procession all over the village, and some very enthusiastic people even take the palanquin on their shoulders too. The villagers say that these deities give the results of the vows taken by devotees.