Guliga daiva of Kantara | Thrilling history and rare facts explained

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Guliga Daiva of ‘ Kantara ‘ is the living tradition of worshipping stone in Tulu Nadu and Udupi district of Karnataka and also some parts of Kerala . This is the tradition which passes on generation to generation orally .

Guliga of Kantara is the spirit of Daiva who comes on the planet earth by impersonating someone’s body which generally belongs to schedule tribes in the state of Karnataka and Kerala mostly to protect them . Impersonating of the body by Guliga Daiva happens mostly on a particular day which is popularly celebrated as Bhoot-kola festival.

Guliga Daiva is worshipped in the form of stone which is generally found under the Shades of tree . There is a specific reason why the Guliga is worshipped in the form of stone but not in the form of Murtis in the temple . Let us delve into the emergence of Guliga on the planet Earth.

Guliga Daiva story

In Kailasha , One day Ma Parvati found a stone in the ash which she considered very uncommon and decided to present it to Lord Shiva . Lord Shiva threw it to the ground from which Guliga appeared . Then he sent him to the lord Vishnu .

After observing his weird behaviour Lord Vishnu told him to appear from the stomach of “ Nelaulla Sanke “ . After spending nine months in the stomach of Nelaulla Sanke , He asked her how she wanted him to come from her stomach . In a very polite voice she replied ,  come through the way a normal child takes birth . 

Famous scene of the movie  ' Kantara '
Famous scene of the movie ‘ Kantara ‘

As it was mentioned in the above line that Guliga carried weird  behaviour with himself so he came from her mother’s stomach by tearing  it apart . He was full of hunger after taking birth . To fulfill his hunger he started to roam around . 

He started to dry up the lake of Lord Vishnu and ate all the fishes of that lake . Then he was given the blood of animals , raw meat of animals too  but his hunger was not going anywhere . Then finally Lord Vishnu gave him his little finger to eat which molified his hunger for food .

He was then sent to the earth by Lord Vishnu for evil sacrifice . That is the reason when the  possession  happens during Bhoot – Kola , the impersonator’s behaviour suddenly gets changed into furious one and becomes very different from an ordinary person but never harms the right person . 

Gulliga Daiva is also known as Kshetrapala and the Story goes on like this .

History of Guliga daiva

One day seven Jala-durge were sailing on the ocean or sea , then suddenly their eyes stopped on gulliga .They unequivocally decided to  provide him shelter .He was appointed as the  protector of their temples  and this is how he got the name kshetrapala .

One more additional story goes on according to the belief of the people who worshipped or follow the tradition of Gulliga Daiva . One day Guliga and Panjurli  got into a fight which turned into a fierce battle .

Finally , Jala-durge  intervened  and conciliated them and suggested them to live like siblings . This is the reason some of the places we find that they are worshipped together .

Who is Panjurli in Kantara

The Daiva seen in Kantara is a divine spirit of wild boar called Panjurli . One day a wild boar died in the garden living his child alone in Kailasha . Then Ma Parvati took that child and started to take care of him but as he grew up he started to create havoc . Then finally Lord Shiva decided to kill him but Ma Parvati stopped him .

As a result Shiva told the wild boar to descend to the earth and protect the innocent people living there . And this is how the wild boar got the name Panjurli . Now let us come back to the Guliga . 

Bhoot-kola (Panjurli)
Bhoot-kola (Panjurli )


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Gulliga is worshipped in different forms depending on the place where they are worshipped . Like Kathale Guliga , Chawndi Guliga , Sanyasi Guliga , Rahu Guliga , Mantravadi Guliga and so on . 

The  devotees of the gulliga have the belief that the eyes of Gulliga is always towards the sky . The worship takes place under the shade of the tree where the stone-like structure is presented and worshipped .

There are certain offerings which are performed during worship . Offering is done on a coconut leaf and lightens the area by using palm leaf . When all kinds of offering is completed then the worshipper turns towards  the opposite direction and lets the daiva accept their offerings . 

BhootKola festival

Bhoot-kola is one of the astounding festival which is celebrated in the month of December to May with great excitement and enthusiasm in South India . They are being trained since childhood to perform the Bhoot-Kola in a proper manner . Everything should be aligned in a systematic way before performing this ceremony . Below are the rituals or steps through which this great festival finally performed :

  • During the kola ceremony or Bhoot-kola festival , the impersonator’s face is painted in a very mysterious way . The colours generally used are black , red , yellow , white , green .
  • Palm leaves are tied around their waist . Loaded with flowers around the neck , shoulder and hands , anklet and so on . 

  • The impersonator goes through  rituals before performing the kola ceremony . Like oil bathing rituals , the female member of the family sings Paddanas and  during Paddanas , the impersonator starts to become a new being by giving himself an unusual look by wearing a unique costume and ornaments which define him the way the daivas want him to be .

Guliga daiva

  • After which the kola ceremony starts .This ceremony is generally performed during the night . The people of the village start  gathering in large numbers to become the eye witness and have the experience of this great ceremony.
  • The darkness of the night and rhythmic sound released in the atmosphere by shehnai and drums make it more powerful and divine . 
  • The impersonator gradually starts to dance , jumping furiously , vigorously . The fierceness could be seen through their eyes also . They are being trained to perform accurately .
  • When  the body of the impersonator is possessed by the spirit or daiva , the family of  impersonator offers him the puffed rice , raw meat , live chicken , and food and this ceremony generally called as Bhoot-kola .
  • Once the daiva is pacified by the offerings by his devotees , he becomes calm and the people start to come near  him for blessings .
  • Diseases get cured when someone is blessed by the daiva. Many times people come to resolve their personal disputes like marriage , harvesting issues , landing problems . 

Guliga daiva
Guliga daiva
  •  By the blessings of daiva their dispute automatically gets resolved . It has been observed that whatever comes out of the mouth of daiva during that time is completely true . This is the reason when the Britishers were ruling India had always a keen eye on the oracle . 
  • This kola ceremony is basically performed by scheduled caste or tribe people . These people are the ones who once used to live in the jungle and need very limited things to live their life .
  • The impersonator passes this tradition orally to his new generation which adds beauty to this tradition . Not all people are qualified to perform the kola . 

history of Guliga daiva


We are blessed that we have such a diverse tradition which is still alive in India . Sometimes people just have to accept the reality as it is because our rational mind is always ready to find flaws whatever we perceive .

 This tradition speaks a lot about divine power which actually can be experienced through participating in it . Science always needs evidence but there is something which is beyond evidence and logic . 

Dropping our ego and logic and accepting reality is the best thing which we can do in reverence . 

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