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Installations of Idols

Shri Dev Vetoba & Shri Devi Sateri: First and subsequent reinstallations of idols
Shri Dev Vetoba of Aravali, as the God is famously known today, had existed from times immemorial as ‘Anaadi Vetal’ (Timeless Vetal) in the dense jungle near the village known as ‘Satakhanachi Dongri.’ During the first half of 17th century, Nath Panthi saint Shri Bhummaiyya brought Vetoba and Devi Sateri from their hilly abodes and installed them at their present location through his ‘Shabri’ vidya. This was considered the first investiture of Vetoba and Devi Sateri. Thus, through Shri Bhummaiyya’s extreme devotion, Anadi Vetal was transformed into his ‘sagun’ (with attributes) form, a manifestation of Lord Shiva.

Second reinstallation
But since this idol of Vetoba was made out of phanas (jackfruit) tree wood, it was reinstalled about every 100 years. No records exist about the idol’s second reinstallation but, according to old timers, this must have happened sometime during 1700 to 1720. At this investiture ceremony, however, idols of Shri Bhummaiyya and Shri Purwas were consecrated on Shri Dev Vetoba’s right hand side in the temple’s sanctum sanctorum.

Third & Fourth reinstallations
The third reinstallation took place in 1843, according to the information available. The fourth reinstallation ceremony happened on April 23, 1920. During those hard times, late Narayanrao Vitthalrao Kothari took the initiative and carried out the reinstallation with dedication. Records show that the late Balwant Ramchandra Dalvi secured the jackfruit tree wood needed for this idol in 1893. Balwant Dalvi had gone, along with Shri Dev Rawalnath, Bhutnath and some village people, to a village named Kaas in Sawantwadi sansthan and had got the wood from one Balkrishna Tukdev Rege who was a resident of Aravali. This idol was created by wood sculptor Raghoba Tuliji, also known as Nana Mistry, who lived in village Akeri in Sawantwadi sansthan.
Fifth reinstallation
The 5th reinstallation took place 76 years later on April 22nd 1996. It was a grand function, spread over 6 days, which attracted thousands of devotees from far and wide. A magnificent 9 feet 2 inches tall idol of Shri Dev Vetoba - this time made of ‘panchdhatu’ (5 metals) - was reinstalled with pomp and celebrations. The grand event was marked by mahaprasad, dramas, plays, music and other cultural programmes. On this occasion, the temples of Vetoba and Devi Sateri were also renovated.

To commemorate this gala occasion, the Devasthan brought out a comprehensive smarnika (souvenir) featuring articles, reminiscences, historical narratives etc by many eminent Marathi writers including novelist and playwright Jayawant Dalvi. The souvenir has served as a reference source this website’s contents.

Shri Devi Sateri
The idol of Shri Devi Sateri, carved out of stone, was first installed by Shri Bhummaiyaa in the second half of 17th century. It was reinstalled in 1858. Idols of other Gods under the Aravali Devsthan were also reinstalled, as they were either broken or had faded. Thus in 1931, idols of Shri Devi Mhalsai, Shri Dev Giroba and Shri Dev Dandekar were reinstalled. Around the same time, idols of Shri Dev Nitkari, Shri Dev Kulakar, Shri Dev Nirankar, Shri Dev Baracha Purwas and Shri Dev Purmar were also reinstalled. New seats and cupolas for these Gods were also built.

Traditionally, the ‘kaul’ of Shri Devi Sateri is done with 22 leaves of ‘salai’ tree, and She is offered new blouse piece with rice and coconut (oti), saree, laddus, pedhe, bananas, sugar as naivedya.
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