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Goddess Oladevi – Goddess of Cholera in Bengal - Olabibi

Goddess Oladevi, also known as Olabibi, is the Goddess of Cholera and is worshipped mainly in parts of Bengal. She is also known as Olaichandi. Oladevi derives her name from Olautha, the Bengali word for cholera and devi means goddess. She is mainly worshipped for containing a cholera outbreak. She is also worshipped to ward off chicken pox.

Goddess Oladevi is worshipped in the open under a tree with her seven sisters. Some consider the seven are Saptamatrikas. Some people believe the goddess is similar to South Indian Goddess Meenakshi and her sisters.

Some scholars claim that Goddess Olabibi is the wife of Asura Maya or Mayadanava, a fierce demon.

In some regions, Olabibi is said to be one of the seven sisters of Sheetala, Manasa, Bonobibi and three others, all of whom have powers to cure illness.

Goddess Olabibi is usually clad in a blue sari. She has a bright complexion and sometimes she carries a child.

Daily pujas are simple and involves lighting of lamp, incense etc. Special offering are made when there is an outbreak of Cholera.

Fruits, sweetmeats, sugar puffs, betel leaves, betel nuts and flowers are offered to the Goddess daily during cholera outbreak.

Devotees hung stones from tree branch under which the Goddess is located. The stones carry the wish of the devotee to cure people from disease or to prevent from getting it.

Muslims too worship Goddess Olabibi but in the form of an aristocratic young Muslim woman.