A local pantheon of mallaNNa

A train of thought culminated in me remembering the peculiar case of the equestrian deity mallaNNa found in Ailoni. There is a smaller temple of mallaNNa in that village. Here he is depicted with his two wives with four arms hold a sword, trident, skull bowl and Damaru. His first wife is mADaladevI who is supposed to be umA incarnated amongst the lingAyata-s or gone kApu-s. She is depicted with a crown and two hands with a sword and skull bowl. She is the Andhra ortholog of mhALsA. His second wife is ketammA who is believed to be ga~NgA incarnated as a golla, and is the ortholog of bAnU. She is similarly armed as mADaladevI but has an elaborate hair-do instead of a crown. Also shown are 3 heads of Meccan demons or mlechCha-turuShka-s or yavana-kula daitya-s who where beheaded by mallaNNa.

He has a peculiar entourage of deities around him. He has a herd of sheep that he obtained from his wife ketammA. He has an army of 7 (or 7 times 100) dogs (vedic: shvabhya shvapatibhyashcha vo namaH; also compare with 7 fold troops of maruts). His brother is bayaNNa (a fierce bhairava; bhairoba in the mahArATTa country). There is a goddess poshammA who may have many arms and is like shAkambharI. There is then agni and vAyu. Then there is vAsukI or nAga-sarpaM. mallaNA is supposed to make 13 cups of sheep milk for the 7 dogs, bayaNNa, poshammA, vAsukI, agni, vAyu and himself. In the temple following this a ritual is performed where the cups of leaf are made and milk offered the deities. Here, as in some forms of the khaNDobA myth from mahArAShTra, mallaNNa is said to have incarnated to slay Meccan demons or green-robed demons who had seized the land in the age of kali and were tormenting the Hindus. maNi and malla may be called suratrANa-s who ruled from Bidar and some other place.

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