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25,000 buffaloes sacrificed in Nepal

One..five…20…100…500…1000. One lost count as nearly 25,000 buffaloes were sacrificed at Gadhimai Mela in Bara district of southern Nepal bordering India on Tuesday, reports Utpal Parashar.

world Updated: Nov 25, 2009 00:41 IST
Utpal Parashar

One..five…20…100…500…1000. One lost count as nearly 25,000 buffaloes were sacrificed at Gadhimai Mela in Bara district of southern Nepal bordering India on Tuesday.

Protests by activists like French actress Brigitte Bardot and India’s politician-cum-crusader Maneka Gandhi failed to have an impact as nearly 300 people armed with machetes and khukhris butchered the animals to appease Goddess Gadhimai.

Held every five years, the Gadhimai Mela is called by some as the world’s biggest animal sacrifice fair. It is attended by millions of devotees from across Nepal and neighbouring India and thousands of animals and birds are killed as part of a traditional ritual.

And it is no different this time around. An estimated 1.5 million devotees converged at the temple on Tuesday. Nearly 500,000 buffaloes, goats, roosters, pigeons and rats are expected to be sacrificed in two days.

“Animal sacrifice is part of religious and traditional beliefs and we are not going to stop this practice at any cost,” said a priest at Gadhimai Temple refusing to divulge his name.

It was 9:15 am when several priests accompanied by some authorized slaughterers sacrificed five buffalo calves after tying them to a wooden stake. Amidst shouts of Jai Gadhimai Ki, hundreds of devotees rushed forward to touch the spilled blood and apply it to their foreheads.

The sacrifices were meant to appease the goddess.

“But soon it came to be known that offering sacrifice at the temple could lead to fulfillment of wishes and large number of devotees started reaching here,” said Sunil Kumar, a local farmer.