The Arya Maratha Kshatriyas of Kasargod are worshippers of Shakti and are Shaivas. Though Sri Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj was an avid worshipper of Amba Bhavani, the Maratha Kshatriyas who belong to his community worship different incarnations of the Devi including Amba Bhavani and also Shivamsha Gods as their main deities. Every clan worships different Gods and Goddesses and has different main deities. Eg: The Jadhav clan members belonging to the Jamadagni Gotra along with principal deity Sri Mundodu Mookambika also worship Subrahmanya (Naga), Bhairava, Veerabhadra, Bhadre, Mahakali and Bhoomi Daiva Rakteshwari, Ganadevathas Guliga, Brahma Rakshassu, Mantramurthi Guliga, Vishnumurthi etc. The Dharekar clan members belonging to the Vasishta Gotra have Sri Devi Arya Katyayini as the principal deity along with Kallurti etc. Pawar family members worship Sri Raulnatha, Mahishamardini, Brahmarakshassu, Guliga etc. Bahuman family member worship Raulnatha (Shiva), Guliga and other daivas. Chauhan clan worships Sri Ravalanatha Bhairava, Sri Bhuvaneshwari and other Gods. Vishnumurthi Ottekola (Kenda Seve), Dhoomavathi Daivada Kola, Guligana Kola, Rakteshwari Daivada Kola, Bayalu Kola Hariseve etc are observed and practiced by all clans. Along with this on the occasion of Sauramana Ugadi (Vishu) Nagatambila, Rakteshwari Tambila are performed and on Sankranthi (Sankramana) every month Tambilas (Tambula) of Naga, Rakteshwari, Guliga are performed. These Tambilas are also held in the form of Harake. In Karkala, Mulki and Kalianpur, Ambabhavani and Tulajabhavani are worshipped. Most families celebrate Chandramana Ugadi (Gudipaadava) which heralds the commencement of a new year. There is the custom of hoisting a white flag atop every house on this day.
The names of men in Marathakshatriya community end with Ji or Rao (Rayaru) and the names of women folk with Bai, Amma (Gangabai, Seetabai, Ratnabai, Sulochanabai, Gangamma, Seetamma, Lakshmamma, and Gauramma). But these days the use of Ji at the end of every name has reduced and in its place Rao and other family names are used. The names of women too do not end with Amma or Bai these days. But by such names one can easily identify members of the Marathakshatriya community.
Some family members worship their Kuladevatha in the traditional style by chanting hymns while others just opt only for the right procedures during offering pooja. In some clans there is also the Darshana form of pooja. The daily pooja is offered in the Devaramane by those who reside in the Devaramane. There are some clans which have accepted the senior member offering the daily pooja as the family guru. Or else, a senior member of the family, or an able person selected by the family will obtain Deeksha as Guru. Those who obtained this Guru Deeksha have to be compulsorily present at all family functions such as naming ceremony, Chaula, Munji (thread ceremony), marital engagement, Seemantha and marriages. However in the recent years, the post of the Kula guru has not been receiving its due respect and honour owing to the new generation which has totally sidelined the culture and traditions. Even during Uttara kriyas it is the Kula guru who performs all the rituals.
In Devaramanes, the harake (gifts) are received from devotees.Various poojas such as Somavara Pooja (Annadana Pooja). Mangalavara Pooja (Darshana Pooja), Adityavara, Shukravara Pooja (Phalahara Pooja or Hoovina Pooja) and such other special poojas are performed. During these poojas there is also the tradition of offering to God several items like golden or silver cradle ornaments, bells, lamps, offering plates (harivana), golden or silver flowers etc. Some offer Ravivara Pooja. Apart from these every day there is the custom of lighting the lamp. Every Pooja mentioned above has to be performed in a ritualistic manner.
Every family in the community has the tradition of serving food to the ancestors on Mahalaya, prepares or purchases clay idols of Gauri Ganesha on the occasion of Ganesha Chaturthi and worships it for three to five days. During Navaratri, Saraswathi Pooja, Grantha Pooja, Ayudha Pooja are preformed. On Ashtami day, special pooja is performed and men in the family who are above 14 years or the new daughter-in-laws are given the right to participate in the religious functions in the family. The programme is conducted by the Kula Guru. This is an Upanayana Samskara without Upaveetha. During Deepavali, Tulasi Pooja and Keraka Pooja (there is the practice of lighting lamps by shaping cow dung in the form of lamp. Around this a seven round fort is made using cow dung with the fort having 28 openings, four each in every round. On either side of the openings 56 Hindlakais are kept. Around the hollow in the middle, seven such Hindla Kais are kept and 5 on top. Those who extinguish the burning lamp in the middle are hit with the Hindlakai reminding one of the battles inside the forts. This Keraka Pooja is performed during Deepavali by some and on Tulasi Pooja by others. Even festivals like Shivaratri are celebrated with religious fervor.
The marriage rituals of the community are also distinct. The religious guidelines mention of the several rituals including shaving (mukha kshaura), devakarya, exchanging betel leaves, Ganapathi Pooja, Ravijana Pooja, starting of Dibbana, knocking down the bowl of rice at the entrance, offering arati to the groom, washing feet at the dhara mantap, offering gifts, Upanayana, Dhare, Sheshe, sumptuous lunch, handing over the bride to the groom’s family, the traditional entry into the bride’s house (vadhu griha pravesha) etc.
Most of the community members are working as agricultural labourers in villages to eke out a living. Some have opted for cultivation and have coconut, arecanut plantations in their own land while others have engaged in sericulture. Only a handful of community members have become doctors, engineers, advocates, teachers, clerks and village accountants. The number of community members serving the police department is also high. Several members are serving the department in Kasargod, Mangalore, Mulki, Kalianpur, Shimoga, Karkala, Uppinangady, Udupi, Moodbidri, Kundapur, Mulki, Shimoga, Sullia, Madikeri, Mysore, Bangalore and other places. Many of the community members are also residing in Mangalore. During Navaratri, Deepavali, Ganesha Chaturthi, Hosathu (Hosa Akki Oota), Ugadi and other special functions held in the family, Hariseve, Daiva Kola, Otte Kola etc are attended by all members of the family.
There are several songs based on the culture embedded in the life of Kshatriyas. Some of them have been included in the book ‘Kasargodina Arya Maratha Kshatriyaru ondu Sanskritika Adhyayana’ authored by Mohan Kuntar. The community has an ambition of constructing its own Kalyana Mantap and has earmarked a land for the same in Mangalore. But the construction of the building has not commenced despite the community members contributing their mite for the cause. This is due to the fact that more than 80 per cent of the community members are financially backward and the project is also facing problems owing to non-receiving of aid from the government. The Arya Yane Maratha Samaja Sangha is striving to realize this dream at the earliest. In the meantime, enthusiastic youth have donated an independent office building of the Sangha to the community on 30-10-1999. For this all the enthusiastic youth who worked for the cause have to be thanked. In fact October 30, 1999 is a day which has to be written in golden letters by the Maratha community members.