The story of Khodiyar Mata dates back to 8th century. This story is mentioned in many ancient Gujarati and Rajasthani scriptures.
In 2023, Khodiyar Mata Jayanti (Khodiyar Maa Pragatya Din) date is January 29.
Many Hindu castes like jograna Charan, Rajput, Bania, Brahmin, Ahir, Bharwad and Patel, Bhoi Gurjars, Devipujak, Luhar-Suthar etc worship Khodiyar Mata as their Kuldevi and also use Khodiyar as their surname. The Jograna (Bharvad) Chudasama, Patidar Sarvaiya, Rana, Raval (yogi), Bhati (Jaisavat/Jaisa), Rathod clans sometimes used Khodiyar as their surname as they worship Khodiyar Mata as their Kuldevi.
Story | Legend of Khodiyar Mata
A man called Mamaniya Gadhvi lived in the Roishala village in Vallabhipur in modern Bhavnagar district of present day’s Gujarat. Due to his honesty and devotion to Bhagwan Shiva, he had an exceptional friendship with the local Maitraka king Shilbhadra. The ruler’s ministers envied Gadhvi’s relationship with Shilbhadra and planned to get rid of him. While they failed to persuade the king, they managed to persuade his queen to distrust Gadhvi by explaining that a childless married man is inauspicious.
Soon, the doorkeepers denied Gadhvi entrance into the palace. When Gadhvi asked for the reason, he was told that a childless man is not worthy of the king’s presence. Humiliated, Mamaniya went home before visiting the temple. He prayed to Shiva for progeny. He decided to perform the ultimate sacrifice of his own life. Just when he was about to kill himself, Shiva appeared before him. Shiva explained that Gadhvi’s destiny did not include biological children. Still, Shiva took him to Nagaloka to see the King of Snakes, Nagadev.
After listening to the man’s story, the Nagadev’s youngest daughter and her seven siblings decided to help by incarnating as humans. The youngest snake princess advised Gadhvi to make eight cradles for eight children. Gadhvi returned to Roishala and told his wife the news before following through with the instructions. Eight snakes crawled into the cradles, and soon he was blessed with seven daughters named Aval, Jogal, Togal, Holbaai, Sosaai, Bheejbai, Janbai (who later earned the name Khodiyar) and one son named Mehrak.
When Shilbhadra learned of Gadhvi’s children, he was happy that his friend was no longer childless, but he also suspected black magic. The king visited Gadhvi and his new family. The king’s ministers decided to use this opportunity to eliminate both Shilbhadra and Gadhvi by poisoning the sweets that the king would eat at Gadhvi’s house. By a miracle, the poisoned food disappeared before the king could take a bite. Unfortunately, this supported the king’s suspicions. He ordered that the eight children be placed in iron boxes and left to drown in the river. By another miracle, each of the eight boxes floated, the babies’ cries audible from inside.
The eight children of Mamaniya Gadhvi grew up to become fearsome warriors and wore black cloths in memory of their native place, Nagaloka. Therefore, they were given the names as cobra sisters or Nagnechi, who was also the tutelary deity of the royal house in Marwar.
One day, while the children were playing in a field, Mehrak was bitten by a venomous snake. Janbai volunteered to journey to Nagaloka to retrieve amrita before the poison could take Mehrak. On her return trip, Janbai severely injured her foot on rocks. She could not walk properly, so she rode a crocodile back to the surface, earning her divine status as she saved Mehrak’s life. She became known and worshipped as Khodiyar from the root word khodi (limping) and with the crocodile as her mount.
Nice description of KHODIYAR MAA.