If you think throwing tomatoes in Spain is considered a bizarre festival, wait until you heard of the most unique festival in India. In the Indian state of Karnataka, the Bagalakot district becomes the home to the ritual of tossing a baby from 30 feet (9m) above. While the men are waiting below the temple, holding a sheet that to catch the baby, this bizarre and unique festival of tossing babies in India can be one of the most risky events human beings ever created in modern times.
The ritual usually takes place near Mudhol town in Bagalkot at the Marutheshwara temple. The locals call this interesting custom as Okali and every year, it brings a large crowd of people to the small town. It has been introduced from the ancient times and according to the trustees, the most important thing for them to have is the spirit of worship in their hearts. This is because a true worship will only comes from a pure heart. Even though the act of tossing babies from 30 feet above the ground can be dangerous, truth is the ceremony is not meant to harm the little ones. They believe that the babies will become stronger if they are being thrown off the tall buildings.
As crazy as that may sounds, most of the parents and the families accepted the fact that the ritual is just a normal ceremony. Most of the babies are between 3-months to 2-years old. Their eager parents will be the ones bringing them to the temple. Once the children are being thrown from above and caught in a large sheet held by a number of men, the infants will then be passed around by the crowd until they finally being returned to their parents. However, this dangerous ritual is being opposed by the Indian National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. It was also banned in 2011 but it makes its comeback in this year. This is because the participants voiced out their opinions regarding the banning of the event and that it is their religious right to have the ritual performed.(image by Viaggio Routard)
This barbaric practice has been receiving a lot of negative feedback especially from outsiders and authorities. The worst part of this is probably hearing the screaming and wailing babies as they are being dropped from several feets. Even though the babies are still very young to understand what is going on, we can understand that even a child that young can experience a hard time recovering from the shock. This practice has been started mostly by the Hindu and Muslim Indians since 700 years ago in the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra. The most recent ritual of dropping babies from above and tossing them was held in Nagrala village in Karnataka at Digameshwara temple.
If you are traveling and would love to witness one of the most bizarre events in the world, perhaps you will need to summon all of your courage to watch this ritual of tossing babies. As much as some people would like for this event to stop, surprisingly, this festival which is held once a year, pleases the crowd more than what you can imagine. It is a religious ceremony and it is also one of the ways to bring a large crowd to the small town. Since the schedule of the even can be known in advance, a proper preparations can be done in advance to acquire cheap flights to India, along with affordable accommodations. And as with any other destinations that have special events, last minute booking gets relatively expensive and less choices are to be found.
Related post : How To Travel With Babies Safely?
Feature image by Kris