Bangalore, March 10 (ANI): In a bizarre ritual, large number of devotees visit a temple in Bangalore's Chitradurga district and smoke cannabis during an annual festival as an expression of their devotion to the deity here.
The temple's main deity Nayakana Hatti Tipperudraswami is said to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva.
Visiting this temple during the annual festival shows how men and women consume cannabis during this festival, held in March, in the name of the strange belief.
Also related to this 800-year-old unusual ritual is a belief of some people that smoking cannabis enables the smoker to develop a better focus in the worship of the deity here.
People here believe that God favours those devotees who smoke cannabis here and they attain 'salvation' after smoking cannabis.
Legend has it that Tipperudraswami came to Nayakana hatti and stayed until his last days. The God created the pyre for his cremation.
"The fair is of Guru Eppseswamy (another name of Nayakana Hatti Tipperudraswami) is being observed every year for 800 years. He attained Moksha (salvation) at this place," said Shekharappa, Member of Temple Committee.
Some of the hermits believe that cannabis should be consumed by them alone as it is the sacred offering of God.
"In our Shavana community, many people call it (cannabis) as 'Ganja' or 'Patri'. But it is none of these. It is 'Shiva Patri'. I should say that only the Shavana community should be allowed to smoke it. No other people have authority over it," said, Niranjan Swamiji, a hermit.
Though it is illegal to buy, sell or possess cannabis in the country, the fair provides an opportunity to cannabis sellers and buyers, as they can trade cannabis here without any hassle. By aipal Sharma (ANI)