Body-piercing ritual at Kochi Temple

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Kochi, Mar. 31 (ANI): Devotees at Kerala's Aaryyankavu Bhagwathi Temple have devised a new way of performing the banned ancient Thookkam, or body-piercing ritual.

In the original Thookam ritual, the back of the person willing to perform the ritual is pierced with sharp hooks and lifted up to a height of over 30 feet on a scaffold, before the bleeding victim is brought down and hooks taken out.

However, the new method doesn't require the devotee to be hung or lifted.

"After a court put a ban on the ancient ritual of multiple body-piercing and hanging from rope, now only single piercing is done in the body and the person just stands still and does not hang. The devotees also fast for 41 days," said Shiv Raman, a temple committee member.

In 2004 - following a widespread protest by social activists and even Hindu priests - the practice was banned by a court.

he legend behind the ritual goes back to the ancient days. Legend has it that even after slaying the demon Darika, the Goddess Kali remained bloodthirsty.

Hindu god Lord Vishnu then sent his mount, the giant bird Garuda, to Kali. Garuda gave the goddess some drops of blood, which pacified her thirst.

The ritual is performed based on this belief. (ANI)

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