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Where deity blesses after abuses

Locals in a Himachal village feel that without abusing, the deity isn't pleased and blessings may not come.

india Updated: Apr 16, 2006 11:30 IST

In a strange tradition, women in a Himachal Pradesh village shower their local deity with abuses to earn blessings.

The annual ritual takes place in Sarahan village along the banks of the Sutlej in the Kullu valley, some 180 km from Shimla. Hundreds from nearby villages join in.

Locals believe that without the abusing, the local deity 'saroni' isn't entertained and blessings may not come their way.

Their own men folk are not spared either.

This year, the ritual, known as jhiru or spring fair, took place on Friday.

"First the deity is taken out of the temple and carried in a colourful palanquin to a meadow at the edge of the village," said a villager.

"Women of a particular caste take vantage points and start cursing in Pahari dialect."

After the dancing and singing around the palanquin on the meadow, the deity is carried back amid a last shower of abuses by the women.

Once the deity is back, the cursing stops till the next spring fair-and the women become sober with their speech again.

Village elders say the tradition has been going on for generations. The origins of the strange ritual are not known.