"No house is supposed to be without its tutelary divinity, but the notion attached to this character is now very far from precise. The deity who is the object of hereditary and family worship, the Kuladevatá, is always one of the leading personages of the Hindu mythology, as Siva, Vishnu or Durgá, but the Grihadevatá rarely bears any distinct appellation. In Bengal, the domestic god is sometimes the Sálagrám stone, sometimes the tulasi plant, sometimes a basket with a little rice in it, and sometimes a water-jar--to either of which a brief adoration is daily addressed, most usually by the females of the family. Occasionally small images of Lakshmi or Chandi fulfil the office, or should a snake appear, he is venerated as the guardian of the dwelling. In general, however, in former times, the household deities were regarded as the unseen spirits of ill, the ghosts and goblins who hovered about every spot, and claimed some particular sites as their own. Offerings were made to them in the open air, by scattering a little rice with a short formula at the close of all ceremonies to keep them in good humour.
"The household gods correspond better with the genii locorum than with the lares or penates of autiquity."
H. H. WILSON.