On the beach at Al Bustan, there is a strange monument. I think it’s a Bobbariya shrine, but I will welcome clarification. This came to me when I was reading In an Antique Land by Amitav Ghosh. On page 271, he explains that Bobbariya-bhuta is “deemed by legend to be the spirit of a Muslim mariner and trader who died at sea” and revered by the Magavira people originally of the Malabar coast in India. He says a shrine is “usually a simple pillar and platform of stone, with a wooden mace propped up beside it.” I have noticed that Indians bring some offerings to this shrine.
This shrine is not out of place in Oman, because Bobbariya is a Muslim deity, as explained in this excerpt from a Hindu newspaper:
According to folklorist Amruth Someshwar there are two such deities with clear connections to the coastal Muslim community: Ali daiva and Bobbariya. Bobbariya is the son of a Muslim woman, who was born into a Jain family.
According to one story, on the night of her wedding, a snake came out of her nose and bit her husband. The same thing happened to her second husband.
A Muslim magician, asked for her hand in marriage if he was able to resolve the problem. He knew why all her husbands mysteriously died. When the snake came out of her nose, he killed it.
This man’s name is said to be Murave Beary. Bobbariya is said to be Murave Beary and the Jain woman’s son. The son had learned sea trade from his father and died when his boat was wrecked in a storm. This is why he has been elevated to a deity, Mr. Someshwar said.
Worship of this deity is practised through the coastal belt from Kundapura to Kerala, where the deity is called Bappurian, he said.