Introduction / History The Koli people are also called Dongar or Raj Koli. Generally 'Koli' means a fisherman but the Koli people's primary occupation is agriculture. The Mahadev Koli derive their name from their god Mahadev and live in the Mahadev hills of Maharashtra. They are found mostly in the Pune, Ahmednagar and Nasik districts of Maharashtra. They speak Marathi and use the Devanagari script.
Their staple food consists of rice, nagli, varai and wheat. Other than agriculture they are also involved in cattle production, dairy and poultry farming and wage labour as subsidiary occupations.
There are twenty-four exogamous clans among the Mahadev Koli and they use their clan's names as their surnames. Members of each clan have their own deity.
They resemble the Kunbi and the Maratha communities in matters of dress and appearance. They live in nuclear families. Bride price plays an important part in the marriage. The marriage ceremony lasts for three to four days. Divorce and remarriage are allowed. The dead are buried, but in some cases cremation is also practiced.
Most of the Mahadev Koli follow a number of Hindu traditions. The percentage of literacy among the Mahadev Koli is 30.