Uttarakhand Aug 16: Bagwal festival ( throwing stones on each other to shed blood to please deity Barahi Devi) which is celebrated on Raksha bandhan (Brother promises to protect his sister by tying a thread around brothers wrist).
Though there is a high court ban on use of stones during the festival, locals manage to sneak in with stones, outsmarting authorities. A large number of devotees turned up at the Devidhura temple in Uttarakhand’s Champawat district on Thursday and threw stones at each other to celebrate Bagwal.
In old times, human sacrifice used to be made annually on the occasion to please the goddess. According to the legend, an old woman, who was required to sacrifice her only grandson, pleaded with the goddess to spare him. Her prayers were accepted by the goddess, who appeared in dreams of her devotees and asked them to play Bagwal by pelting each other with stones and shed as much blood on the ground as can be considered equal to a human sacrifice.
Locals believe that the goddess is pleased only after blood, equivalent to a human sacrifice, is shed during the sport, which is witnessed by thousands of people. In 10 minutes, leaving around 100 people injured.
According to the tradition, four local feudal lords divide their groups into two.
Then both groups start throwing stones at each other. The ritual ends with a signal from the head priest.