Gods Preached in the Kumaon Region
Kumaon by Category
Though Kumaon Region has many Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti temples but Kumaon people have a famous custom of worshipping their folk deities. The folk deities are the heroes of the early times who have a separate story attached to their existence and each one is represented and worshipped through a Peak, Jagar( a ritual of poem) or a Temple constructed and devoted to them. Kumaon also has a tradition of worshipping Yaksha and Snake which depicts giving respect to the brave. Along with worshipping thefolk deities, the people of Kumaon region also worship the Kuldevatas and Gram Deavta that are known as Family Gods and Village Gods respectively. The Naga (Snake Gods), Veers (The Brave Heroes) and the Bhumi Devatas (Land Gods) are also widely worshipped by them.Naina devi
Naina Devi is a name dedicated to Goddess Parvati. The Temple of Naina Devi was constructed by the Katyuri queen Jiya Rani in the Kumaon region. The place has a myth attached to its name that Goddess Parvati committed Sati and jumped in to sacrificial fire when her hudband, Lord Shiva was insulted by Goddess Paravti’s Father Dakshaprajapati during a Yajnya in which Lord Shiva and Parvati were not invited. It is said that when Lord Shiva was taking Goddess Parvati’s sacrificed body, here eye fell at a place near the holy temple of Pashan Devi in Nainital and since then Naina Devi temple has been named and is devoted to Goddess Parvati.Bhola Nath
Dedicated to the folk Gods of Kumaon, Bholanath is a temple of Lord Shiva where he is said to have incarnated himself. As per the old story, Chand kind, Udai Chnad disowned his elder son because of his bad habits and passed their throne to their younger son. While wandering, the elder son, his preganant wife came to settle near around Almora but Udai Chand got both of them executed. After that, the son, his wife and the unborn child became evil spirits and so people started worshipping them. It is said that the original temple of Bholanath is situated in Champawat.Nanda Devi
Nanda Devi is none other than the Greek Goddess “Nana”. She came to Himalayas with the Indo-Greeks and Kushan Kings. Nanda Devi is a Goddess of Kumaoni region and is largely worshipped by people here.Gwalla
Gwalla is also known as Gorilla, Golla or Golu and are the temples that are widely established in the Champawat region, Chitai area and Ghorakhal district. Amid all three, Chitai is the most famous temple. The story of Gwalla is said in context of a King who sent his servants to fetch water. On the contrary the servants troubled a woman who was indulged in prayers. The woman in a fit of anger commented on King’s incapability to separate two fighting bulls which she did easily. The king was charmed by the lady and married her. After marriage the queen gave birth to a son but other queens of the king could not tolerate it and replaced the child with a pumpkin. Later, the baby was kept inside a cage and thrown in to water. A fisherman found the cage and nurtured the child. When the child grew up he once took a wooden horse to riverside. Seeing his act other queens questioned him about his act to which he replied that if a woman can give birth to a pumpkin then wooden horse can also drink. Listening to child’s words, King got to know about other queen’s act and so he punished the queens and accepted to the boy who became famous as Gwalla Devata.Gangnath
The story of Gangnath’s is quite similar to that of Bholanath. Gangnath was the son of the then famous king of Vaibhav Chand of Doti (Western Nepal). Gangnath has a brute fight with his father and so he left his home in rage and while his wanderings, he found a girl with whom he fell in love. The girl was Joshi Brahmin Lady named Bhana. But Bhana’s father did not like it and got Gangnath murdered by a Blacksmith. Hereafter, Gangnath became spirit and started harming people and in fear people started worshipping him and Bhana.Airy
Airy is another God who is largely preached by inhabitants of kumaon. He is similar to God Shani and has his eye on the top of his head. The attendants of the God “Sau” and “Bhau” ride on dogs. Airy god is said to take care of animals and is worship in that form. There are numerous temples of Airy but its main temple is in “Byandhura”.Kail
Kail Bisht is another folk God who has the idol with playing flute and is located near Binsar. The story attached to the temple is Shrikrishna Pandey was wrongly reported about an extra marital fling of his wife and a valiant Rajput Shepherd, Kallu. The matter was brought before the king who thought wanted to but did not have Kallu executed as he saw Trident’s impression on Kail’s forehead and a Kadamb Flower’s impression on his feet. Though, kallu was later murdered by deception.Chaumu
This God is known protector of animals and has its temple in the region Jhulaghat-Pancheshwar. There is a story attached to this place that once a man was traveling to Champawat with a Shivlinga in his turban. En route he stopped at a place and placed his turban on the earth, after finishing drinking when tried picking the shivlinga, he failed to budge. Hearing this, may people were lured to this place. Presently, it ha sbeen constructed in to a Lord Shiva’s temple and milk and sweets are offered to God. There are many temples of Chaumu but the main seat is in Chamdeval.Haru
The famous king of Champawat, Harish Chandra was a renowned king who is being worshipped by people of this region. The temples of Haru and Saim, The Lord of Boundaries are place together.
Besides listed names there are numerous Gods that are worshipped in the Kumaon region as in Bhumia, Nagnath, Badhan, Narsingh, Chhurmal, Gabla etc. Garh devi is found at the cremation ground and is worshipped on the night of Amavasya. Anyari and Ujyali are other two popular goddesses here.