The name Khandoba has been variously interpreted, the most commonly held belief being that it was a disorted form of Skanda, the son of Shiva, However, the deity is known by various names like Malhari,Malhari,Mailar,Martand, Mhalsakant, Ravalnath, Yelkoti Mahadev and it is widely popular in Maharashtra as well asKarnatak. It is more wellknown as Kahandoba among the Marathi speaking people and as Mailar amongst the Kannad speaking people. The word Khanda means a sword and if the word is derived according to that meaning,and if the custom of representing Khandoba in a ling form is taken into account, there would be little hesitation in accepting Prof. Khare’s contention that Khandoba or Malhari is a form of Shiva. Now this Khandoba is supposed to be a warrior king and his Kshatriya aspect is emphasised.As such he has also a minister’ known as Hegadi, the same personage whose image was seen while climbing the hill and another one of the variety opposite the shrine. Mhalsa is the wife of Khandoba. The story goes that Mhalsa was the daughter of a certain grocer Timmasheti of Nevasa. She was born on the full moon day of Magha and was married to the god on the full moon day of Pausha. Banai whose image also had been noted earlier is the other wife of Khandoba.
However, certain traditions treat her not as a legal wife but as keep of Khandoba. She is supposed to belong to the Dhangar community. According to other legends more common in the Kanarese regions this Banai or Palai is a properly married wife of Khandoba, the marriage taking place at Naldrug on the full moon day of Shravan. Very often the horse and the dog appear as icono- graphical attributes of Khandoba. The slogan ‘Yelkot’ means the leader of a crore troops. The earliest known references to Khandoba and Mhalsa go back to the thirteenth century.