Potharaju is the brother of Goddess Mahankali. He is a fierce looking man and is part of procession to Mother Goddess temples. Today many people dress like Potharaju and leads the Bonalu procession. He walks ahead of the procession whipping himself. He is part of Bonalu procession, Pochamma Thalli and Ellamma Thalli.
Potharaju symbolically represents masculine power, which can weed out all physical evils affecting the devotees of Goddess Mahankali. Thus, he is a protector or guardian deity.
Usually Potharaju is a well-built man, whose body is covered with turmeric powder and red vermilion on forehead. He wears a red dhoti. Bells are tied to the ankle and dances to the sound of drums.
Potharaju carries a whip and lashes it against his body to the sound of drum beats. He is followed by women carrying bonam or by females who tie neem leaves around their waist and are in a trance.
Sometimes Potharaju goes into a trance and predicts the future of the community.