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Featured Report: Gadhimai Festival — Harvest of Blood

by Rukmini Sekhar

As I write this piece, I doubt if I can even remotely match the horrors of what will happen on November 27 and 28 around a small temple in Bariyapur in Bara district, southern Nepal, across the Indian borders of northern Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Within this temple sits the blood-thirsty Gadhimai, a Hindu goddess of power. Every five years she presides over the largest ritual animal sacrifice in the world, a bizarre orgy of blood surrounded by the decapitated heads of nearly five lakh (1 lakh = 100,000) animals. In what can only be described as an unparalleled depraved madness, crazed by archaic ritualistic frenzy, lakhs of water buffaloes, calves, pigs, goats, chickens, ducks, pigeons, and even mice are slaughtered within a three-km radius of the temple, after which the goddess, gorged with blood, rests for another five years till it begins all over again. The divine female principle, gentle mother and nurturer, has been turned into a ruthless blood-sucking ogress. The festival begins in late November to go on for a month. Read More

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