(Last Updated on : 14-08-2013)
Potaraju is a village deity of South India, principally of Andhra Pradesh. Potaraju is worshipped there as a deity, who protects the agricultural fields and the crops. Apart from Andhra Pradesh, Potaraju is also worshipped in some parts of Tamil Nadu. This deity is very popular among the agrarian castes.
Potaraju deity of Andhra Pradesh is symbolised by a stone, which is painted white, or by a wooden post, a bit like a spear. It is of about four or five feet in height carved at the top and smeared with turmeric. These statues of Potaraju deity are generally positioned in the agricultural lands. These are never placed in any temple or shrine of Andhra Pradesh. In Andhra Pradesh, the images of the deity Potaraju can be seen along with his seven sisters. These seven sisters are called by various names like Peddamma, Isodamma, Maramma, Ankalamma, Nukalamma, Vasukota, Ellamma or Arikamma
The farmers of Andhra Pradesh believe that Potaraju deity looks after their agricultural lands and crops and protects the crops from deadly diseases, thieves and animals. It is believed that a thief, who steals crops from a field bearing the deity's image, will have to go under the rage of the Potaraju deity. Therefore, the thieves generally do not dare to touch the crops of these fields. It is only for this reason that almost every farmer family keeps the Potaraju image by painting a stone white and spotted with turmeric in the field.
The worship of Potaraju in Andhra Pradesh is very simple and there is no need to perform many rites. The image takes hardly a square foot of the agricultural land. Usually, a chicken is sacrificed near the image of the Potaraju deity when the crop is harvested. The farmers of Andhra Pradesh believe that the Potaraju deity can be satisfied by this only. It is sacrificed for keeping in peace and pleases the Potaraju deity. But later the chicken curry is relished by the people and not even a small quantity is offered before the deity.