Gadhimai Festival

Gadhimai Festival is a Hindu Festival which lasts for a month, and is widely known as one of the biggest slaughter festivals in the world, after Thanksgiving and Eid. The festival is named after Gadhimai Temple (which is itself named after the Hindu goddess of same name), and lies in Bariyapur village of Bara district, Southern part of Nepal. The festival is celebrated here every five years. The two days of the festival are segregated for the slaughter of Animals and birds, which include Buffaloes, goats, pigeons, chicken pigs and many others. The slaughter is done to please the Goddess Gadhimai, which is believed to become happy with the sacrifice and bloodshed of the animals.

Gadhimai Festival
Gadhimai Festival

This year, the slaughter is going to be held from 28th and 29th November, and hundreds of thousands of animals and birds are ready to be sacrificed. The majority of devotees coming from the Northern states of UP and Bihar in India, there are several other devotees from Nepal and other parts of India as well. In the last festival, which started from first week of November to first week of December 2009 (the slaughter, however was held in November 24th and 25th of 2009), about 250,000 animals and birds were sacrificed. The head of the Gadhimai Temple starts the sacrifice by giving Saptabal (which means Seven Sacrifice, which includes white mice, pigeons, roosters, ducks, swine and male water buffaloes). More than 200 men performed the ritual killings there, and for this year, the amount is somewhere around 300. The animals and birds are killed by swords and other similar sharp weapons.

Story behind Gadhimai Festival: About 260 years ago, Bhagwan Chaudhary a feudal landlord was imprisoned in Makwanpur fort prison. Inside the prison, he had the dream that if he made a sacrifice to the Gadhimai Goddess, all the problems would be solved. He therefore was deeply influenced by the dream, and as soon as he was released from the jail, he went to a local village healer for a counsel, where Dukha Kachadiya, the healer’s descendent, started the ritual with drops of his own blood from five parts of his body. Then when the light appeared in the earthenware jar, the ritual of the sacrifice began.

The majority of the animals are imported from India, and a lot of them are purchased from the local farmers by the devotees as well. The ritual sacrifice is being condemned all over the world, and the animal right activists are fighting to stop it, stating the reason of barbaric killing. The Supreme Court of Nepal has given order to manage the sacrifice properly, and no any photography and videography will be allowed in the upcoming festival.

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