Ravalnath(Konkani: रवळनाथ, Ravaḷhanāth), also widely known as Roulu, (रवळू, Ravaḷhu)[a] is a popular Hindu deity in Goa and the Sindhudurg district of coastal Maharashtra, in western India. Shrines of Ravalnath are also found in border areas of Belgaum specially in Karle and Uttar Kannada districts as well as coastal areas of Karnataka. He is worshipped as the main deity or an affiliate deity in most temples of Goa. He is often associated with the Pan-Hindu God Shiva.
Ravalnath is a guardian deity (Kshetrapala) who protects the locality from climatic disasters, witchcraft and snakebites. Ravalnath along with Santeri, Bhumika, Bhutnath and Betal is a popular folk deity worshipped as Gramadevata (village god) in most villages of Goa and Sindhudurg of Maharashtra.
The origin of word Ravalnath is a matter of conjecture. Mahadevshastri Joshi, derives the word from the word Ruru, who is one of the Ashta Bhairava, eight forms of the god Bhairava - a ferocious aspect of the god Shiva.[b] The iconography of Ravalnath is same as that of Bhairava. According to Shenoi Goembab, the word Raval (from the word Ravalnath) comes from the word Rahulbhadra which was also the personal name of Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna.Rahul was also the name of Buddha's son. As per his view during the Buddhist period, some Buddhist might have come to Goa and the worship of Ravalnath was mainly due to this Buddhist tradition. These views of Shenoi Goembab are not accepted by mainstream scholars. Some other speculations suggested that the word Ravalnath is derived from Tamil word Iravalnath and in Tamil Iraval means begging for alms, and is connected to Bhikṣāṭanamūrti aspect of Shiva. Ravalnath is sometimes considered as one of the three hundred Gaṇas of Shiva.
The earliest inscription referring to Ravalnath, called Ravaluba, is dated to the Hoysala period. In another inscription from Goa, Ravalnath is referred to as Ravaloba as well as Ravaleshwar. Southern Silaharas, who ruled North Goa and the present Sindhudurg and part of Ratnagiri district and Kadambas of Goa, were devotees of Shiva. However, references to Ravalnath are not found either in Silaharas or Kadamba inscriptions. There are a two inscriptions in Nagari script and from Velus village of Sattari taluka referring to Ravalnath from Vijayanagara period.
Ravalnath is mostly depicted standing, with his left leg slightly bent. He has four hands and holds in the front right hand sword (Khaḍga) and in the left hand bowl of ambrosia (Pānapātra), in the lower right hand a trishula (trident) and in left hand, a damaru (drum). He wears a crown, a garland of human skulls (Runḍamāla) and a dhoti. He has a moustache. A female attendant with a fly-whisk (Cāmara) may be shown on his side; occasionally two attendants on either side are seen. Ravalnath is also worshiped in the form of Linga (Shiva's aniconic form). A horse is mostly depicted as his mount in iconography.
Ravalnath is a popular deity of all social classes in coastal Maharashtra and Goa. However previously the upper castes, especially the Brahmins and the royals of Goa, frowned upon the worship of Ravalnath, who was considered as the deity of the masses. During the 14th and 15th century, Ravalnath was accepted as a guardian deity by all. He is now a Kuladevata (tutelary deity) of all the castes of Goa. Though there is no reference to him in the Sahyadrikhanda of the Skanda Purana, the 17th-century Koṅkaṇa Mahātmya attributed to Saraswats of Goa does mention Ravalnath. The absence of Ravalnath in Brahminical scriptures could be a possible reason to the initial resistance of the upper castes.
The rituals for Ravalnath are especially performed between Dasara to Kojagiri Purnima and on Shigmo in some places. Icons of Ravalnath (as well as some other local guardian deities of non-Brahminical origin) are usually images, but festive bantons called Taranga,decorated with nine yard sarees and a metal palm or a face of the deity is fitted on the top of the banton. Possessions (Bhaar or Avsar) is a very important aspect of Ravalnath worship, where he is said to communicate and bless the devotees via a possessed medium. Blood sacrifices of cocks or goats are offered to him in some places. The ritual of sprinkling the blood of the cocks offered to tarangas on cooked rice is called charu.
There are eight independent temples of Ravalnath in Goa where he is the presiding deity and more than 42 shrines where he is venerated as a subsidiary (Parivar devatā). Notable temples of Ravalnath are:
- Ravalnath mandir,Karle Belgaum
- Lakshmi Ravalnath, Gawanwaddo Marcela
- Shree Ravalnath Bhutnath Temple Nagueshi Bandora
- Ravalnath Temple at Satarda, Maharashtra
- Pisso Raulu, Marcela
- Ravalnath temples at Pernem
- Ravalnath temple at Virnoda, Pernem Goa
- Ravalnath temple at Sanvordem
- Ravalnath Temple at Chandgad, Maharashtra
- Ravalnath Temple at Turkewadi Chandgad Maharashtra
- Ravalnath at Karwar, Majali, Karnataka
- Ravalnath Temple at Shiroda, Ponda, Goa
- Rawalnath Temple at Adiware, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.
- Rawalnath Temple at Bhatye, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.
- Mahalaxmi Ravalnath Temple, Hireguthi, Kumta, North Kanara
- Dev Ravalnath Temple Phanasgaon Devgad Sindhudurg, Maharashtra
- Bhumika Ravalnath Temple at Purkhewada, Askawada, Mandrem, Pernem, Goa
- Shantadurga Ravalnath Maydekar Devasthan, Mulgaon, Goa
- Shantadurga Ravalnath Pomburfekar Devastan, Mulgaon, Goa
- Ravalnath, Shree Kalbhairav Sansthan, Dhargal, Pedne, Goa
- Kagal Devakikrishna Temple, Kumta
- Ravalnath temple,Phanasgaon Devgad, Maharashtra
- Ravalnath temple,Shahuwadi,Kolhapur, Maharashtra
- Ravalnath temple, Khanoli, Vengurle
- Shree Dev Ravalnath Mandir at Karanje, Kankavli,Sindhudurga,Maharashtrra
- Shree Ravalnath Temple at Ajgaon, Shiroda, Maharastra
- Devaki krishna Ravalnath temple at tellar road, karkala, karnataka
- Ravalnath Temple, Gaonkar Wada, Bicholim, Goa
- Shri Mahalaxmi Ravalnath Temple,Gaonkar Wada,cudnem, Goa
- Devi Pavnai Ravalnath Temple, Verle, Sawantwadi, Sindhudurg, Maharashtra
- Shree Linga Ravalnath Temple, Pokharan, Kudal, Sindhudurga, Maharashtra.
- Ravalnath Dev Mandir Maligre, Maligre,Taluka Ajara,Kolhapur,Maharashtra
- Ravalnath mandir ajara maharashtra
- Ravalnath mandir pernoli ajara maharashtra
- Ravalnath mandir at Pednur near Katta
- Ravalnath mandir at Pat (Pat Parule) Vengurla district
- Ravalnath mandir at Kochare, Kudal
- Ravalnath mandir at Velvand, Ratnagiri 415619
- ^ Most of the old documents of the colonial era mention the name Roulu which is a Portuguese version of the local word Ravalu. Ravalu or Roulu is also a common given name in Goa.
- ^ As mentioned about Ravalnath has been commonly known as Raulu,the word Raulu can be derived from the word Ruru, In Konkani Ru can be sometimes pronounced as Rau as in Rudra is pronounced as Roudiro.The change of ra (Devanagari:र) to la (Devanagari:ल), also common in most Indo-Aryan languages,further more in Konkani la (Devanagari:ल) changes to ḷha(Devanagari:ळ).
- Mitragotri, Vithal Raghavendra (1999). A socio-cultural history of Goa from the Bhojas to the Vijayanagara. Institute Menezes Braganza. pp. 218–225.
- Gomes Pereira, Rui (1978). Goa: Hindu temples and deities (translated from the original in Portuguese by Antonio Victor Couto). Pereira, 1978. pp. 1–231.
- Joshi, Mahadevshastri. Gajati Daivate(गाजती दैवते) in Marathi. Pune: Continental Prakashan. pp. 90–104.
- Manager of Publications (1966). "Census of India, 1961: Maharashtra". Part 6. 10 (1 of Census of India, 1961, India. Office of the Registrar General): 128.
- Directorate of Archaeology & Museums (1989). "Puratan". Department of Archaeology and Museums, Madhya Pradesh. 6–7: 48–56.