Mangaluru (Karnataka): As a part of a centuries-old tradition, hundreds of devotees here performed a spectacular fire ritual, to pay reverence to the Goddess Durga at a temple situated in the Kateel town, around 30 kilometers from here.
Bare-chested, dhoti-clad men threw fire torches at each other in the compound of the Kateel Durga Parameshwari temple here in the unique age-old fire fighting ritual aimed at appeasing the Goddess.
The ritual ‘Agni Kheli’ ‘Thoothedhara’ takes place during the festival of the Kateel Durga Parameshwari temple that is held in the month of April each year for about eight consecutive days.
Two villages near the temple– Athoor and Kodathoor participated in the ritual.
Speaking to ANI, priest of the Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple, Hari Narayana Dasa Asranna said: “The two groups face one another from a distance of about 15metres to 20 meters and throw burning palm fronds at each other.”
According to the rules of the festival, the men are divided into two groups and are permitted five throws to hit as many people in the other group.
“The people who suffer burns are sprayed with water of Kumkum (red powder made from saffron and turmeric),” devotee KV Shetty said.