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Ecotheological Dimensions of Termite Hill



Ecotheological dimensions of termite hills which are habitats of wild edible Termitomyces mushrooms is discussed
(Published in ‘Govapuri’ Bulletin of Institute Menezes Braganza, Vol. 1:3, Oct-Dec,1999, Panaji, Goa)
Ecotheological Dimensions of Termite Hill
Dept. of Botany, Goa University, Taleigao, Goa
ECOLOGY is most fundamental to the survival of human cultures and populations.
Ecological resources are exploited by humans for creation of an artificial hierarchy of
eco-systems. Technologies are evolved for efficient transfer of ecological resources.
During this course of material and technological evolution ; symbols, motifs are
absorbed; rituals are formulated, cults emerge through common symbols and rituals; gods
and goddesses; demons and devils; spirits and angels assume forms and shapes and
religious systems befitting the levels of technology get rooted. Magic is related to
technology. Primitive agricultural and fertility magic could be considered as monopolised
knowledge of stagnated, unevolved or dynamic technology depending upon the
ecological specificity of each culture.
The common determinants of ecological specificity of any region are soil and climate.l
The ecological dimensions of historical theology have to be examined from these
common determinants. In this regard, the cults of earth-mother worship as found in South
Konkan and Goa, could be test cases. Scientific elucidation of these cults and
demystification of various beliefs, legends and rituals associated with them is necessary
to find the true meaning of several historical phenomena. As A.C. Spawlding says,
"historians depend on a type of explanation that they claim is different from scientific
explanation. While in fact, no separate form of historical explanation exists.2
Many quasi and pseudo-historical forms of explanations3 exist. For the cult of Santeri,
Ravalnatha, Skanda-Kartikeya, Subhramanya and Muruga, Renuka, Parashurama and
Yellamma, Jyotiba, Khandoba and Durga4. Mostly these are propagated through
brahminic literature and sometimes through the folklore. In the ultimate analysis, every
explanation is reduced to the two basic principles -the male and the female. Cults related
to the worship of 'Roen' or termite hill embodied both these principles symbolically. The
'Roen', known as 'Santara' (with perforations or 'Valmika' in Sanskrit, 'Pottu' in Tamil,
'Varul' in Marathi, 'Bhom' or 'Bhombada'in Malvani or Kudali thus became the focal
point of origin of cults such as Santeri-Ravalnath, Jyotiba- Y amai, Renuka-Kedarnath,
Yellama-Adimailar and inspired amalgamation of many Saivite cults.5
The Ecological Magic of Roen
Absorbed by Konkani, Roen is originally a mundari word according to Anand Dhume,
denoting the natural form of the ant or termite-hill.6-7 From the paleolIthic period cave art,
the use of natural symbols and forms by primitive man could be pinpointed. Forms
matching the termite-hill have not been reported from the wall painting of caves of
Bhimbetka Complex of Madhya- Pradesh 8, a region closer to the original home of the
primitive settlers of Goa -the Kols. The cave complex which is dated from 30,000 B.P. -
4000 B.P, indicates that the magico-religious aspects of the termite-hill did not so much
impress the hunter food- gatherers of pre-historic ages. The magico-religious aspects of
termite-hill are manifested not only through the pyramidal, conical, triangular form of its
architecture but also through its origin from soil. To the hunter food-gatherer tribes origin
of termite-hill, their expansion, multiplication without any visible external interference or
agency, their property to withstand sun, wind and rain, their seemingly ageless nature was
a supreme ecological magic. However, it found expression only after formation of some
stable societies in region dominated by the termite-hills. Geographically, this region is
mostly the sub-Himalayan region of India. Within this region, the mound- building
termites are dominant only in South India 9 a characteristic of the ecological
determinants - soil and climate.
Termite-hill Association with Fertility Cult
The primitive fertility cult was based on the fertility of the soil. Since agriculture was a
discovery of women, food gathering and cultivation was done by them. They wielded
immense power as tillers of the earth and came to be regarded as depositories of
agricultural magic. The essence of this magic consisted in linking up their fertility with
that of the earth.10 This could be accomplished through selection of a natural form like
termite- hill. The termite-hill, the Roen, thus became the divine cult symbol of earth-
mother goddess. This association must have occurred during the pre-agricultural period.
The cult of Santeri in Goa thus dates back to the neolithic period. It is pertinent to record
here the ritual of 'Mage Parab' festival of mundaris. After lighting the fire during 'holi',
the chiefs and other important clan members visit a termite hill and cover it with tree
branches. According to Anant Dhume, this ritual was retained by Kols of Goa. The Kol
tribe introduced the worship of Santer in Goa and the worshippers were known to be
called as Santerkars or Satarkars.l1
The Goan landscape is saturated with termite-hills. Their density was more during
ancient times. Termite-hills, specially the largest and oldest near a settlement or village
thus became the centre of ritualistic worship. A survey of the Santeri temples or centres
of Santeri worship of pre-Portuguese period12 shows that the cult ofSanteri is most
dominant cult ofGoa. Interestingly it has many similarities with termite-hill associated
cults of neighbouring states. The major centres of these cults are Alampur and
Nagarjunkonda in Andhra Pradesh; Siddankotte, Sangameshwar, Vyaghreshwari in
Karnataka and Ter, Mahurzari and Bhokardan in Maharashtra.13 The Sanctity of the
Termite-hill Soil The termite-hill soil is identified as one of the five holy soils used
foryadnas. In Shatapatha Brahmanas (, the earth gifts the termite-hill soil to the
sky as theJemale ovum, while the sky gifts salt to the earth as semen.14 The termite-hill is
believed to contain the seed of protector gods as per another legend. In the South newly
married women worship the termite-hill and the soil is brought as prasada.l5 There is a
belief that termite-hill soil has conception powers. At the Subhramanya temple in South
Kanara, the main priest on the day of Skandashasthi or Nagashashti wears a leather glove
and removes the termite soil which is distributed as prasada. The soil is known as 'Mool-
Mrootika '.16
These beliefs have originated from the fertility cult which considered the termite-hill as
vagina or womb of the earth- goddess. Naturally, the complimentary male principle of the
inseminating god co-evolved in the form of snake or serpent and came to be associated
with the cults of termite-hill worship.
Termite-hill Cults and Naga Worship
Contrary to popular beliefs only discarded or destroyed termite hills occassionally shelter
snakes. No snake can enter an intact, unperforated, live termite mound, protected by
thousands of 'solder termites with paralysing stings.17 Still snakes or nagas have come to
be associated with termite-hills and related cults. The anthropomorphic forms of snakes
have come to be worshipped in Goa. The snake-symbols have evolved as iconic protector
gods or 'Kshetrapatis' in South India.18 In Goa they assume the form ofRavalnatha or
Bhairava. In Maharashtra, Jyotiba or Khandoba. In Karnataka they are worshipped as
Subhramanya. In Tamil Nadu Murugan is their representation. In Bellari, Karnataka, it is
'Manmaillar' or 'Mannu-Mailar' still in the form of termite- hill. Similarly, at Jejuri in
Maharashtra, the 'Adimailar' shows the association of sacred serpent or the male-principle
in the form of termite-hill.
The association is further symbolized through ceremonious marriage. In Vengurla,
Santeri weds Ravalnatha. At Chandagadh near Belgaum, Ravalnatha weds Pavanai. Such
ritualistic and symbolic marriages are known to signify an important historical .phase in
evolution of cults. 19
Evolution and Sanskritisation of the Termite-hill Cults
The ritualistic worship of the Roen in Goa as fertility symbol continued in its natural
form till the advent of powerful Aryan influence in the South. The process of
Sanskritization must have been accelerated with the development of trade routes and
expansion of coastal navigation. Intensive interaction with the neighboring regions
resulted in import and assimilation of many ideas.20 The incorporation of the name
'Santeri' derived from the Sanskrit word "Santara" was one such for termite-hill or
Roen.21 The popularity of termite-hill cults led to composition of many myths and
legends in Sanskrit literature. The folk-deities found their way in Ramayana and
Mahabharata. The earth-goddess, Renuka, became the mother of Parashurama and wife
of Jamadagni. It is interesting to see that on Jamadagni's orders obedient Parashurama
decapacited Renuka.22 A symbolic representation of subjugation of ethnic earth-goddess
worshippers. Her original form is still found intact as Yellamma. The Madiga caste is
tradtional worshipper of Yellamma. The Madigas and their folk-singers Bavnids sing
glories of Parashurama, Yellamma and Renuka in Karnataka.23 In Goa, the only true folk-
art form related to the fertility cult, similar to 'Gondhal' in Maharashtra and 'Bhootnritya'
in coastal Karnataka seems to be "Perni Jagor", now almost extinct.24
A chronological sequence of transition of termite-hill related folk-deities into brahminic
forms may be difficult to construct. However, this transition could be shown to have
occurred after the Satavahanas rule. The popularity of Skanda Kartikeya cult during 4th-
5th century A.D. is related to this transition. The cult of Dzirga and her representation as
Mahishasurmardini was a natural outcome of the interaction with the Gupta Empire. The
Bhojas and the Chalukyas accelerated the process and during the Kadamba rule tantric
influences held their sway resulting in forms like Kali and Chamunda. The original form
of Santeri differentiated in various goddesses of the Saivite and Natha sects. The strong
brahminic influence, the tradition of royal I and grants to priest-class as agrahars further
consolidated their position dominant over the traditional village communities or
'Gramasaunsthas'. With the advent of Sara swat clans during the Shilahar and Kadamba
regimes, the fold-deities were relegated to a minor position. The major centres of Santeri
worship were assimilated by the new settlers. Santeri thus assumed the new form of
Shantadurga. Myths and legends were created to glorify her theogony.25
The Naga or serpent worship in Goa was similarly influenced. Anthropomorphic
sculptures were probably worshipped by the Sendrakas of nearby Banavasi region who
traced their origin to 'Phanindra' or 'five-hooded serpent'26. The sculptures ofTalavali
and Cudnem show Gupta-Kushana influence stylistically. Women desiring child used to
offer Nagar carved on stone -or Nagakalas.27
Such Nagakalas are prominently found in many temples in Goa. The Tambdi Surla
temple, a pre-historic and megalithic site contains two Nagakalas carried in basaltic slabs
signifying 'Subramanya' and the importance of 13th century fertility cult.28
The male principle, worshipped as phallic form or linga, found popular representation in
Goa. Saptakotishwara, Nagnatha, Manganatha, Mallikarjuna were derivations of the cult
of Naga worship, related to the earth-mother goddess -Santeri, but later influenced by the
brahminic and puranic modes dominant under various dynasties.
Despite powerful vedic, brahminic and puranic influences, the folk-deity Santeri has
retained its original aniconic form at many places of worship in Goa. The goddess is
represented in mask form fixed on a vessel of copper and brass. At Dhargal and Keri-
Ponda, two metre high live termite-hills are still worshipped as Santeri. One of the largest
temples of Santeri existed at Sancoale, which was destroyed in 1567. A similar temple at
a place called Sandelva or Sandival in Curtorim was burnt29 down in 1560. Since Santeri
is an aniconic deity the destruction of temples did not break the tradition. New large
termite hills immediately became the abode of Santeri.
The Hidden Aspect of Ecological Magic
There is a scientific explanation of the fertility aspect of the termite hills.30 The termite
hills are built by termites over a period of 2-3 years. Termites are social insects having
different classes and a system of division of labour. Only the termites of Macrotermitinae
sub-family build massive overground mounds/hills. Each hill has many compartments
where the termites store their food. This food is composed of plant matter. The termites
grow a type of fungus called Termitomyces over this food-pile. The fungus grows on the
pile and makes its digestion easier for the termites. After rains the fungus grows very fast.
The walnut shaped mass inside each compartment shows growth of small needles. The
needles grow further through the soil. they look like small serpents, with bulbous hoods.
After penetrating the roof, the snake-like objects grow further through the soil. After
penetrating the roof the snake-like objects grow further. At this stage they look like erect
phalluses or hooded snakes. After a few days the growth is complete. A beautiful
umbrella like object with a cylindrical support and a ring is seen. It gives a fruity smell.
This is the well known 'Termitomyces' mushroom.
It could be show that at hunting-food gathering stage the food-value of these mushrooms
had been discovered.31 The food- generating capacity of the termite-hill, after
insemination by rains, was considered as fertility magic by the women-Shamans. Further,
the food-piles, if a termite hill is excavated or destroyed, look like animal-brains. For a
hunting community, the association was not difficult. Termite-hill thus became a cult-
symbol and the snake-like forms, white at the top and black underneath, the immature or
pseudorhizal stage of Termitomyces mushrooms were transformed into Kshetrapala gods
-the consorts ofSanteri, Renuka andYellamma.
The origin of all phallic shaped forms associated with the cults of termite-hill worshjp
thus have to be related to specific stages of Termitomyces mushroom-life cycle.32 This
explains the origin of' lingadevas' and 'stambhadevas' devoid of yonis/pithas or shalunkas
found in South Konkan, Goa and Canara. These forms do not follow the sylistic features
suggested by Varahamihira qr the Puranas.33
The 'Nagakashtha' is one of the chief emblems of cult of Santeri, Renuka and Yellamma.
It is carried by the Matangis in Karnataka and by the Gauravas in Goa. The 'tarangas' are
'Nagakashtas' of Santeri and Ravalnatha, which are taken in a I procession 34. The origin
of 'Nagakashtha' could be traced to the snake-like objects emerging from the womb of
the earth-goddess the Roen/Santeri.
The five-hooded serpent could be just a bunch of immature Termitomyces mushrooms
emerging from the surface of the termite hill. This is a commonplace observation 35
exploited religiously by the priest-class in South Canara and other places. In the
Subhramanya temple the main priest has to wear a leather glove to remove 'Moolmrutika'
which is nothing but part of fungal-comb inside the hill. The leather glove gives
protection from stinging bites of soldier termites.
The legend of discovery of Umbrella 36 by Jamdagni is also related to copying of the
umbrella form of a mature Termitomyces mushroom. The largest Termitomyces
mushroom ( T. titanicus) has a diameter of one metre, larger than modem umbrella. There
is no similar form in nature which may inspire discovery of an umbrella. In this regard, it
is pertinent to record the experience of the Bengalese tribes. They named the mushrooms
growing on Termite-hills as Durga-chhata or the Umbrella ofDurga. This name signifies
the importance of th termite hill as an iconic goddess Durga and the Termitomyces
mushroom as her umbrella.37
The most common words for mushroom 38 in Maharashtra and Goa are Alambi (Marathi),
Alami (Konkani) and in Karnataka 'Anabi'. These names are related to Ela or Yellamma,
the termite-hill goddess. Elam-beej or the 'Seed of Elam' became corrupted as Elambij -
Alambij -Alambi -Alami -Anabe (Kannada). Compared to any other species of wild
edible mushrooms, discovery of mushrooms on termie hills is more ancient. So, the
original names could have been derived only from Termitomyces spp.of mushrooms.
This hidden entomo-mycological dimension 39 of the cult of earth-mother goddess
parallels several prominent cults of mushrooms in the world.4O The closest, related to
phallic or anthropomorphic cult is the Mexican or Aztec cult of Tenonanactal. This cult
practised ritualistic consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms. No such consumption
occurs in India.41.
The worship of Gajlaxmi is popular in Goa. R. C. Dhere has shown that this worship was
originally related to the cult of earth-mother goddess.42 In Goa, it could be a symbolic
worship of monsoonal showers. The elephant represents monsoonal cloud. Through the
Gajalaxmi worship a link between the sky and the earth is established. The monsoonal
rains invigorate the earth. The earthJgdddess becomes "Shakhambari" or creator of
vegetation. Arid from the termite-hills, the rains give rise to Durga-chhtitas Alambeejas.
The best crop in Goa emerges at Nagpanchami. This crop is known as the "Crop of
Panchami - Panchamechi Alami"; Year after year this tradition is maintained. The cult of
Santeri also provides a means of subsistence to the followers. The people who collect and
market termite-hill mushrooms are all followers of Santeri, Ravalnath, Khetoba and
similar folk-deities. The food-gathering, non-discriminative habit has continued through
the ages without imposition of a taboo.
Natha Sect and Termite-hill Worship
Kaulamata, the tantric ritual system ofNatha sect has originated from the termite-hill
worship. From the studies of Dr. Mitterwalner 43 on the Pilar Cave site, it could be
established that it was a principal site or a combined worship centre of Natha sect and
Termite-hill in Goan Folklore
There are no direct references in folk-art forms of Go a related to the cult of termite-hill
worship. The folk-deities of Dhangaras of Goa, Khandoba and Mhasoba, are associated
with the termite hill worship cult.44 m their talo folksongs 45 the Dhanlgar folk- dancers
and singers refer to the termite hill by its original mundari name Roen as in the following
"Katyo Roeni Jagani..."
An analysis of dialogues of 'Perni Jagar' could perhaps shed more light on the original
form of the cult of termite-hill worship. There is a Dhangar legend in Goa associating
five-hooded serpent with the termite-hill.
Other Legends and Rituals related to Termite-hill
1. As per the Alampur legend, after decapitation by Parashurama, the head was destined
to be worshipped as Yellamma and the torso as earth-goddess.46
2. Earth-goddess Renuka rejected Ratnagiri as residence and went back to Mahur .47
3. In Matangi initiation ceremony (Diksha), a termite hill is excavated. The virgin girl is
seated in the pit and a basket covers her head. The girl goes in a trance. The medium
'springs' up from the excavated pit on the background of beat of drums and bavanida
songs. After confirming the initiation the girl is presented with Matangi's (equivalent of
Santeri) insignia.48
4. The Adishakti emerged from termite hill and grew up as a princess.49
5. Mahabharata and Brahmanda Purana do not mention Renuka-Termite hill
6. Tondamana, a king, sees Renuka as termite hill.51
7. One Durgamma of Bellari (Karnataka) dreamt of a goddess inside an expanding
termite hill: A temple was builtin her honour. A. snake used to come out from the hill
every day during ancient time to consume a feast of eggs, milk etc.52
8. On Chaitra Shudda Nawami, the Renuka in termite-hill form is offered meat and
hundred casks of liquor .53
Iconography and the Cult of Termite-hill Worship
The termite-hill, due to its complex elastic form, is not worshipped as a sculptural image.
According to R C Dhere, the aniconic termite-hill evolved into the 'Lajjagauri'or 'nude
goddess' motif. In Goa, the Curdi mother-goddess is the best local representation of the
evolutipnary form. This goddess carved in supine form in porous laterite dates back to
1000-600 BC or megalithic period. 54.
Another highly evolved form of Lajjagauri, carved in bas relief was found by the author
at Cudnem among many Chalukyan images.
The unique lion-linga, from Narva Cave I, placed in the 4th- 5th century AD is
considered as symbol of Durga.55 The 'Bhairava' and 'Kali' images found at Pilar
depicting the 'Bhootnritya' is an interesting example of iconographic evolution.56 '
Among the several Mahishasurmardini images of Go a, those reported from Guleli by V
R Mitragotri, showing the seated goddess in a boat are most interesting.57 These may
symbolize the popularity of the cult among the traders involved in intracoastal trade,
through merchant ships.
The iconographic evolution of Santeri shows the dynamics of cultural amalgamation
through external stylistic features.58
The Importance of Ecological Dimensions in Theogony
The emergence of the cults associated with the worship of termite hill would not have
been possible without the mound-building termites. The termites evolved, over 180
million years, have occupied a specific ecological niche. Human interaction within this
niche has given rise to a galaxy of gods and goddesses over a period of 5000 years. The
best example is 'Shantadurga' of Goa or 'Shantala' of North Kanara which combine the
folk beliefs and brahminic rituals.
Without termites and termite hills which are specific to typical tropical soil and humid
climate theogony of these goddesses and gods would not have been possible. Like Asia
Minor, where termite hills are not found, a cult of mother goddess with votive clay
figurines 59 would have dominated this region.
The new trends in archaeology have been influenced by an ecosystem view of the culture.
This view considers human populations as part of larger ecological systems and poses
multiple reciprocal exchanges between as cultural system and environment. If offers
unlimited possibilities for studying the processes involved in the evolution of ecosystems
with the focus on human population.
Similarly, dealing with the evolution of political and religious systems Flannery (1972)
and Flannery & Marcus (1976) have mentioned that the entire culture could be profitably
analysed from an ecological perspective.60
Perhaps, this effort is consistent with the new trends in archaeology, and many lead to a
meaningful scientific explanation of several folk deities, cults, folk beliefs of Goa as also
the culturally cohesive region of Santeri-Yellamma-Renuka.
References and Notes
1. Kamat, Nandkumar, Evidence of external influence in Goa through interdisciplinary
studies. In Goa's external relations (seminar papers) ed. P.P. Shirodkar, Rajhauns,
2. Kuppuram, G., India through the ages. History, Art,Culture and Religion, Vol. I,
Sandeep Prakashan, Delhi, 1988. pp 14-31.
3. Prabhudesai, P.K. 'Adhishaktiche Vishwaswarup' (Devikosh) (In Marathi), Vol. I-IV.
Pune 1968. The author has compiled encyclopedic information on various cults of
mother and earth goddesses.
4. Dhere, R.C. 'Lajjagauri' (Marathi) Sri-Vidya Prakashan, Pune, 1978, 228 pp. (hereafter
called Dhere, Lajjagauri).
5. Ibid.
6. Dhume, Anant Ramkrishna Sinai. 'The Cultural History of Goa from 10000 BC -1352
AD'. Dhume Ramesh (Pub.) Santa Inez, Panaji, Goa. 1986. pp. 83, 87.
7. Dhume, A. R S. 'Gomantakachya Vasahatichi Roopresha' in Gomantakachi Pratima,
Khand Pahila (in Marathi), Shri Saraswati Mandir, Panaji, Goa, 1973. pp.11, 67.
8. Randhawa, M.S. 'A History of Agriculture in India', Vol. I, ICAR, New Delhi, 1980.
pp. 82-99.
9. Rajagopal, D. 'Termites: In Applied Soil Biology and Ecology', 2nd Edition, (eds. G.K.
Veeresh & D. Rajagopal), Oxford & IBH Pub. Co., New Delhi, 1988, pp. 180-218.
10. Chattopadhya Debiprasad, Lokayata, A study in ancient Indian materialism, People's
Publishing House, 4th Ed. 1978, pp. 251,288.
11. See reference 6 & 7.
12. Pereira, Rui Gomes, 'Goa, Hindu Temples and Deities', Vol. I, Panaji,
1978. pp. 240. The date on the ancient (pre-Portuguese) temples have been compiled
from various sources by the author, as listed in refer. 62 in the book.
13. See, Dhere, Lajjagauri.
14. Ibid.,~. 195.
15. Ibid., p. 150.
16. Ibid., p. 155
17. Rajgopal, Termites: The author has surveyed hundreds of termite hills in Goa. No
proof has been found of snakes sheltering in the hills. This seemed to be a myth to keep
away unwanted people.
18. Dhere, Lajjagauri, pp. 132, pp. 150-151.
19. Ibid., 'pp. 185; the primitive rites of fertility magic have usually become adapted by
cultural transformation to the social and moral demands of advanced culture -Briffault,
quoted by Arundhati Baneljee in 'Terracotta Zhob mother goddess -a study, archaeology
and history, pp.117-134.
20. See. Ref. 1
21. Dhere, Lajjagauri, has different explanation. He believes Renuka is derived from
Renu -!' Ka (made of Renu or soil grains). More pla\lsible explanation seems to be from
Mundari word -R -0 -0 –no -Roenuka -Renuka.
22. Dange, A.S., 'Renuka' in Vidarbha Samshodhan MandaI Varshika, 1983 (ed. S.M.
Kulkarni). Vidarbha Samshodhan MandaI, Nagpur, 1984. pp. 8-17 (in Marathi);
Association of Renuka with termite hill, according to the author, is a later development.
23. Dhere, Lajjagauri, p. 59.
24. Khedekar, Vinayak, 'Gomantakiya Lokakala' (Marathi), Kala Academy, Goa, pp. 36-
39; only two families of Perni performers are left. '
25. Dhume, Vinayak Shenvi, 'Devbhumi Gomantak' (Marathi) –All India Saraswat
Foundation, Bombay, p. 82-88. The author has translated valuable Portuguese
2,6. Dhere, Lajjagauri, p. 149. Robert Sewell, list of inscriptions and sketches of the
dynasties of South India. ASI, Vol. 2, p. 235; Panchmukhi R.S., Karnataka inscriptions
Vol. I, p. 5.
27. Dhere, Lajjagauri,p. 150.
28. Author's studies of Nagakalas and the temple site.
29. Dhume, Vinayak, see Ref. 25; p. 82, 206, 242. It seems that Santeri temples were
built with wood of high quality.
30. Heim, Roger. Termites et champignons, Les champignons Termitophiles de Afrique
Noire et de Asie Meridionale, Societe Novelle des editions Boubee Paris, 205, pp. 1977.
This is pioneer work on biology and ecology of mushrooms growing from termite hills of
Africa and Asia. Also deals with ethnomycological aspects also.
31. Kosambi, D.D. 'The culture and civilisation of ancient India in historical outline',
Vikas Publishing House Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, 8th edn, p. 34.
32. This author has studied on life-cycle ofTermitomyces mushrooms of Goa in the field
since 1986-1991.
33. Mitterwalner, G.V. 'Two natural caves and 11 man-made cave excavations of Goa:
India in South Asian archaeology', ed. by H. Haertel, Berlin, pp. 469-511.
34. Dhere, Lajjagauri, p. 65, p. 185.
35. Based on field studies of the termite hills producing abundant mushrooms.
36. See ref. 22.
37. In South Canara, during the 'Bhoota-aradhana' ritual related to worship of
Subramanya, a priest carries replica of m.ushroom. Unlike ordinary umbrella this form
has numerous radial spokes showing its similarity with mushroom. (Oral communication
by Dr D. J. Bhat).
38. Purkayastha R.P. & Chandra Aindrila, Manual of Indian edible mushrooms:
Jagmander Book Agency, New Delhi 1955, pp. 224-225; Pandey Gnyanendra & Singh
V.K. 'A note on the concept of mushrooms in ancient India. In Indian Mushroom
Science, I. Atal, Kaul (ed.) 1978, pp. 383-387; the first reference lists about hundred local
names of edible mushrooms, the second lists names found in Sanskrit texts.
39. A paper titled 'The consumption and cult of mushrooms in West Coast of India. An
ethnomycological description' is under preparation.
40. Stafford, Peter: Psychedelics encyclopaedia, and/or Berkley, 1977.
41. See ref. 38; Few species used for medicinal purpose may have hallucinogenic effect;
the Vedic 'Soma' plant is shown by R Gordon Wasson to be the hallucinogenic
mushroom 'Amanita Muscaria'. (See Ref. 40).
42. Dhere, Lajjagauri, p. 66
43. See ref. 33.
44. Dhere, Lajjagauri, p. 188.
45. See Ref. 24, page 52.
46. Dhere, Lajjagauri, p. 40.
47. Ibid, p. 46.
48. Ibid, p. 64.
49. Ibid, p. 65.
50. See Ref. 22, p. 15.
51. Ibid, p. 15.
52. Whitehead Henry, The village gods of South India, Delhi, 2nd ed. 1976. pp'. 116-117.
53. Ibid, p. 74-75.
54. Shirodkar, P.P. 'A rare find of mother goddess at Curdi' in Goan Society through the
Ages' (seminar papers), Goa University publication series no. 2, B.S. Shastry (ed.) New
Delhi, Asian Publication Services, 1987, pp. 9-15.
55. Anonymous, 'Goa: Birthplace of Hindu Cave Temples?' The Navhind Times, Panaji,
Sunday, 22-7-1979. The crowning portion of the linga is cut into a sejant lion. It is about
15 inches in height. Carving is sigularly simple, somewhat stylized. Absence of mane,
presence of a small round bell-band around neck and unusually thick moustache are its
notable features.
56. See Ref. 33. The author has inspected the images mentioned, at
Pilar Seminary Museum.
57. Mitragotri, V.T. 'Mahishasurmardini in boat -a rare Guleli motif.'
Purabhilekhuratatva, Vol., VI, No.2, July-Dec. 88 pp. 69-78.
58. See Ref. 1.
59. See Ref. 10, Ref. 31 & Banerjee in Ref. 19.
60. See Ref. 2, p. 27-31.
... Several mycologists have reported ethnomycological usage of this natural resource wealth from some regions of India [6][7][8][9][10][11][12]. However, indigenous knowledge about edible and medicinal mushrooms has not been given significant attention in Jammu and Kashmir State and presently no literature on this vital aspect exists in this State. ...
... In addition, a few agarics like Russula brevipes were identified locally as 'Kaithno' or 'Kaithmuh'. Kamat [11] while working on ethnomycology of Goa recorded that local wild edible mushroom were commonly called as 'Olmi'; bolete species which sprout with forest showers as 'Bhuifod' (earth boil) or 'Fuge' (baloon mushroom) and termitophillic species were known as 'Roen Olmi' (termite hill mushroom). Many such significant contributions in the ethnomycological classification of the macrofungi world over have been reported recently [23][24][25][26]. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Jammu and Kashmir state is stretched between 32°17'-37°03' N latitude and 72°03'-80°20' E longitude, and covers a total area of 222,235 km², with an average annual rainfall between 60-80 cm. It is bordered to the north and east by the main Himalayan ranges and Punjab plains to the south. The state exhibits varied climatic and topographic conditions and provide pleasant environment for the lavish growth of diverse group of plants. However, information on the species of wild mushrooms from this state is limited. In this backdrop, a systematic study of wild mushroom diversity from various locations of Jammu and Kashmir was undertaken. During the course of intensive field research over the last four-five years in the forests of some regions of the state, the authors collected a number of wild mushrooms belonging to Ascomycetes, Basidiomycetes and Gasteromycetes. During survey, it has also been noticed that the state has the largest concentration of forest dwellers, comprising of about one-fourth of the population of the state. Several tribes and villagers subsist largely on non-traditional and wild food sources especially wild edible mushrooms. Keeping this in view, the ethnomycological information related to these fungi was gathered from several tribal men and women, village heads, and other local informants as well as ayurvedic hakims in order to gain better understanding of the relationship between the fungi, the local people, and the economy. Collection was mainly concentrated in the dense coniferous and mixed forest of Cedrus deodara (Roxb.) G. Don, Pinus wallichiana A.B.Jackson, Picea smithiana (Wallich.)Boiss. Abies pindrow Royle, Quercus sp. L., Juglans regia L., Alnus nepalensis D.Don, Ulmus wallichiana Planch. etc. Standard methods of collection, preservation and identification have been followed.
... The local people collected the mushrooms in bulk and further sold these through their sale counters @ Rs. 50-150/kg. Several researchers have also reported the edibility and therapeutic used of these species from different place of the country (Hattori et al., 2002;Devkota, 2005;Christensen et al., 2008ab;Manandhar & Adhikari, 2009;Pandey, 2008;Adhikari, 2014) and abroad (Harsh et al., 1993;Kamat, 1999;Atri & Kaur, 2003;Sagar et al., 2005). ...
Full-text available
p>This paper highlights the one of the underappreciated natural resource of NTFPs, has high food and medicinal values. The area embraces different mycophagus ethnic communities. The work emphasized the knowledge on the use of various ways of the wild mushrooms in the different ethnic groups and communities in habiting in the district and to explore in the study area. This mycological investigation carried out in different area ranging between 90 and 1229 m asl in tropical deciduous riverine forest, to subtropical deciduous hill forest. The specimens are housed in the Central Department of Botany, Pathology Unit, Tribhuvan University. The collected samples represented 46 species of Basidiomycetes belongs to 32 genera, 20 families and 9 order. The mycoelements prevailing in this area need sustainable utilization and conservation. J. Nat. Hist. Mus . Vol. 29, 2015, Page: 19-31</p
The Colonial period of Goa, a small southwestern state of India, colonized by Portugal for over 450 years, is often considered a period of pollution and impurity. This essay seeks to understand the role of purity and pollution rituals in the religious conversions of sixteenth-century Goa. We undertake to closely analyze the fictionalized instances of conversions in the select novels and draw references from historical documents. The essay combines socio-literary and historical approaches to the subject to present a broader tapestry of the religious upheavals in Goa, mainly in the sixteenth century.
Using multidisciplinary literature, this paper takes a multispecies approach to human-termite interactions across the tropics to demonstrate how termites exploit ecological effects of human behaviours and in turn provide humans with significant ecosystem services. These provisions are deeply entangled within cultural practices and ideologies. Conceptualisations of human and landscape fertility, and the role of termites in facilitating life, create gendered interactions that are manifested in ecological knowledge and praxis relating to termites and termite mounds. The strong association between termites and farmers in particular, may offer insights into past human settlement patterns and their relationships with ecosystems. This paper proposes the use of geomorphology, thin-section ceramic petrography, and stable isotope analysis to investigate these relationships across the tropics. A multispecies approach creates new possibilities for a diachronic understanding of human ecology and raises important questions for the Anthropocene and the future of farming in the tropics.
In today’s scenario with the fast depletion of natural plant resources and increasing population, it has become necessary to explore the possibilities of using newer indigenous plant resources. Wild food resources have been the backbone of the human evolution and survival in the past. Wild edible mushrooms share a special place in the past and modern deitic regimen because of nutritional and nutraceuticals potential. They contain many unexplored source of bioactive components, and, with the passage of comprising unlimited untapped sources of bioactive components. The ethno-mycological data surveyed on these wild mushrooms reveals that fruiting bodies can be consumed and will have good effect on the health of the individuals. Wild edible mushrooms have received significant scientific, socio-economic and industrial attention in the last few decades and they have become the subject of a booming trade business globally. They have enormous nutraceutical potential, but still untapped and underutilized. Some well known wild edible mushrooms in North West Himalayas are: Sparassis sp., Termitomyces sp., Rusulla sp., Lactarius sp., Morchella sp., Halvella sp. Cantharellus sp., Macrolepiota sp., Trapedum sp. and Clavaria sp., etc. The bioactive components in mushroom are - polysaccharides, dietary fibers, Selenium, oligosaccharides, phytochemicals, peptides, proteins, amino acids, mineral elements and many more.. These macro-fungi also possess various health benefits as – anti-microbial, anti-tumour, immune-modulating and hypo-cholesterolemic, anti-cancerous; anti-hyper-cholesterolaemic and hepato-protective agents, anti-HIV and anti-viral activity. The wild edible mushrooms collection also provides income benefits to the local inhabitants. The nutritional and nutraceutical potential is relatively untapped and thus, the need of the hour is to explore sustainable harvesting and utilization of vast treasure of wild edible mushrooms so that there is ‘Non-green revolution’ globally.
Evidence of external influence in Goa through interdisciplinary studies. In Goa's external relations (seminar papers
  • Nandkumar Kamat
Kamat, Nandkumar, Evidence of external influence in Goa through interdisciplinary studies. In Goa's external relations (seminar papers) ed. P.P. Shirodkar, Rajhauns, 1992.Panaji.
Adhishaktiche Vishwaswarup' (Devikosh)
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Prabhudesai, P.K. 'Adhishaktiche Vishwaswarup' (Devikosh) (In Marathi), Vol. I-IV.
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The Cultural History of Goa from 10000 BC -1352 AD'. Dhume Ramesh (Pub
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Dhume, Anant Ramkrishna Sinai. 'The Cultural History of Goa from 10000 BC -1352 AD'. Dhume Ramesh (Pub.) Santa Inez, Panaji, Goa. 1986. pp. 83, 87.
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A study in ancient Indian materialism, People's Publishing House
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The date on the ancient (pre-Portuguese) temples have been compiled from various sources by the author, as listed in refer
  • Rui Pereira
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Pereira, Rui Gomes, 'Goa, Hindu Temples and Deities', Vol. I, Panaji, 1978. pp. 240. The date on the ancient (pre-Portuguese) temples have been compiled from various sources by the author, as listed in refer. 62 in the book.