Worship of the gram devtaas or village deities prevails as a popular form of worship in almost every village and town in the Konkan region. Apart from the main gods of Hinduism, these deities are regarded as closely connected guardians who are personally concerned about the prosperity, protection, health and well being of the village.
In many places, the gram devtaas are seen to reside as a group of deities within a place designated as ‘Deulwada’ or ‘Abode of the Gods’. The temples of Deulwadas are important public spaces in the village or town which are used for community meetings, impromptu classrooms and the performance of the folk arts such as ‘kirtans’ and ‘dash-avatar’ dance drama depicting the 10 incarnations of Vishnu. Some of the deulwadas in Konkan region can be seen at Malvan, Vengurla, Achra, Dhamapur, Kinjawade, Parule, Nerur among several others.
Malvan town is situated in the Sindhudurg district of the Konkan region. The Deulwada of Malvan is where the five main deities of this town reside. They consist of five siblings of which the eldest is Lord Narayan, followed by Lord Rameshwar. Subsequent to them are their three sisters, Sateri Devi, Paunai Devi and the youngest, Bhavai Devi.
The shrine of Lord Rameshwar is the oldest. Both, the Rameshwar and Narayan temples were built of the locally available gneiss/ schist stone, which is the same as used by Shivaji to build the Sindhudurg fort in Malvan in 1667. The Bhavai Devi temple is the newest, built within the last decade in reinforced concrete. The following documentation focused on the 6 temples in Malvan that form the ‘Deulwada’ there, and a thorough investigation into their built form and cultural connection was carried out.
Ar. Vivek Korlekar, Ar. Gaurav Dambe, Ar. Pratik Dhanmer, Ar. Saurabhi Naik, Dr. Siddhesh Patil,
Ar. Shilpa Sharma, Ar. Riddhima Khedkar