The Folk deities exist in the form of grama devtas, grama devis, and Naga devtas, in various regions of India. In each region, they exhibit their own peculiarities depending on the socio-cultural and physiographical conditions of the region.
The status and geographical reach of these deities have not remained immutable. With the change in society or in the status of a social group, same deities have acquired the supra-local status and have also found a place in the larger Brahmanical pantheon in the historical period.
As a result of this process of assimilation, some of them have lost their tribal or aboriginal characteristics completely. To quote a few examples, Jagannatha of Puri. Also, The history of the temple city of Chidabaram illustrates how through the process of Sanskritisation; the autochthonous cult of a local god was placed within the context of the great tradition.
Jammu region also has its own complex hierarchy of local deities. Here they are popularly referred to as Kula devtas and Kula devis due to the reason that, the people in the region revere them as family deities. No ritual or ceremony is performed without having first venerated them. This cult, therefore, forms an essential part of the living heritage of the region and as such can helps us to understand the socio-cultural processes in the region
To be Continued…
History Beyond Classroom