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A Maharashtrian form, or avatāra, of Śiva/Bhairava, combining the functions of a regional and a pan-Indian deity. The folk origins of the god are prominently reflected in a localized mythology in which he is portrayed as a chieftain, or hunter, and in a distinct iconography—he is, for instance, attended by dogs, and rides a blue horse. Of his five wives, a merchant's daughter and a shepherdess play the most significant roles in stories about his life. His best known temple is in the town of Jejurī, near Pune. It is served by non-brahmin priests, and is open to all castes. It was a visit to the Jejurī temple which inspired a classic sequence of poems in English by the Maharashtrian poet, Arun Kolatkar (Jejuri, 1976). See also muraḷī; vāghyā; Yeshwant Rao.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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