It is one thing to hear mythologies and lores that allegedly date to the time when the gods walked the Earth. They fill us with awe just as much as they are sometimes able to tickle us pink, irrespective of the degree to which we believe in them.
But it is quite something else to hear about the tussle between gods on Earth long after they had departed for their heavenly abode. One such tussle is believed to have transpired in Purushwadi.
Almost every village in India has its own deity, a god or a goddess to whom it offers prayers and offerings whether in times of celebration like the first crop of the season or in times of need such as illness.
The village deities of Purushwadi are Jaakhubai and Muktai, who – as you speak to villagers will learn – have been overseeing the safety, security and well-being of the entire village since the earliest of times. Probe the villagers a little more and they will tell you about the times when thieves looting the village were believed to have lost their sight – as a punishment by the goddesses themselves.
But an even more interesting belief attributed to the goddesses is the once upon a time the village also housed a temple of Lord Hanuman. However at that time, the villagers faced the outbreak of a certain kind of pox. This it was believed was because the idol of Lord Hanuman – who is a celibate – was in a village that also had a temple consecrated to the Goddesses Jaakhubai and Muktai!
As a consequence, a decision was taken to leave the temple of the goddess as is and break down the temple of Lord Hanuman in a bid to ward off the pox outbreak. The statue of Lord Hanuman is believed to have been immersed in the river.
And as it turns out, not just Purushwadi but five of the other neighbouring villages in the vicinity do not have a temple consecrated to Lord Hanuman either.
Such is the devotion to the goddesses that every year the villagers organize the Jaakhubai Yaatra – an annual festival in reverence to the goddess.
Irrespective of your leaning on matters relating to God and religion, you can trust travel to make you step back from your own world view while it exposes you to revelatory experiences such as these.
By- Elita Almeida