The primary Gadhimai temple is located in the Mahagadhimai Municipality’s Bariyarpur village in the Bara District of south-central Nepal. The area is well recognized as the motherland of the Gadhimai-dedicated Bhojpuri people. And visitors from various areas come here mostly to worship the Gadhimai Devi, who is revered as the goddess of strength and might.
Along the Indian border, 160 kilometers from the Kathmandu Valley, is the pagoda-style temple of Gadhimai. As a result, the temple is equally important to both Indian inhabitants (especially those in Bihar) and Nepalese citizens who live in or around the area.
Gadhimai Devi, a manifestation of the Hindu goddess of force Kali, is worshipped at the Gadhimai Temple. Although the name commonly refers to the Gadhimai festival, held at the Gadhimai temple region in central Terai of Nepal, the temple is located in Mahagadhimai Municipality in Bara District of south central Nepal.
The goddess Gadhimai first appeared about 265 years ago when Bhagwan Chaudhary, the creator of the Gadhimai Temple, dreamed that she demanded blood in exchange for releasing him from prison, shielding him from evil, and promised prosperity and power.
The sacrifice of an animal has been made every five years since Chaudhary successfully defied the goddess’ request for a human sacrifice. Festival goers ring bells as a form of devotion.
The killing is done to appease the goddess Gadhimai in the hopes of gaining a wish or preventing disaster in the future.
The festival, which has been around for more than 200 years, is attended by millions of people. In order to appease Gadhimai, the goddess of power, numerous animals are sacrificed on a vast scale, including water buffalo, pigs, goats, chickens, and pigeons.
The festival has been referred to as the world’s largest or one of the largest animal sacrifice events. It is claimed that 500,000 animals were sacrificed during the Gadhimai festival.
People also offer coconuts, candy, red clothing, etc. In 2015, false information surfaced regarding Nepal’s temple trust’s intention to stop doing animal sacrifices during the festival.
Must know facts about Gadhimai Festival of Nepal
Gadhi Mai, Virta Mai (Birganj), Boudhi Mai (Madhuwan, Bara), Sansari Mai (Shiva Nagar, Pothiyahi), Kanhar Mai (Sameera Bagadh), and Ghodashi Mai are thought to be the seven sisters of the goddess of Gadhi Mai (Dharampur, Rautahat district).
These seven sisters come together once every five years for the auspicious Gadhi Mai fair. The village of Bariyarpur is transformed into a beautiful landscape for animal sacrifice.
The devotees who attend this expo have access to a national and international arena for brotherhood, fraternity, and understanding. This fair is held for 20 days.
- The major objective of followers is to win the Goddess Gadhimai Devi’s favor. She is thought to be the Hindu religion’s goddess of power. Animal sacrifices, according to participants, will put an end to evil and bring wealth into their lives.
- In a concrete slaughterhouse close to the Gadhimai shrine, more than 200 men slaughter the animals.
- There is a sizable crowd of worshippers and animals in this location throughout the month of November. More than 5 million people from Nepal and several of the southern Indian states (Uttar Pradesh and Bihar), according to estimates, will attend the festival.
- Companies in India and Nepal buy all the animal meat and bones after the celebration is over.
The Myths and heresies about Gadhimai
Every shrine in Nepal is wrapped in a history of religious beliefs, myths, and tales, which is not surprising. The mysterious history of Gadhimai began some 900 years ago with Bhagwan Chaudhary, a kind and unassuming Bariyarpur resident.
The thieves were caught in the act and paid the price with their deaths at the hands of the furious villagers, according to the legend: One day a theft occurred at Bhagwan Choudhary’s home.
Bhagwan Chaudhary accepted responsibility for the crime himself and was transported to Nakkhu jail in Kathmandu out of fear that his fellow villagers would be found guilty.
He was asked to be sent to Bariyarpur and the crime scene by the goddess of Makawanpur Gadhi, who first came in his dream one night and continued to appear on successive nights.
Bhagwan Chaudhary was released from the prison by the goddess’ occult abilities, and a pinch of earth from her foot to his turban gave him free passage back to his village.
Gadhimai demanded five human sacrifices annually in exchange. Bhagwan Chaudhary graciously gave up his life in sacrifice, stating that he was unable to offer human sacrifice.
Instead, he made a promise to do a quintuple sacrifice (an animal pancha bali) every five years. It would contain a water buffalo, a rat, a pig, a rooster, and several other animals.
And so the custom of using an animal pancha bali to please Gadhimai, the goddess of strength and prosperity as well as a protector against evil, was born. However, this ceremony was unsuccessful since Bariyarpur’s children and youth started falling ill and dying all of a sudden.
After addressing Gadhimai once more, the goddess instructed Bhagwan Chaudhary to give a human sacrifice in addition to the pancha bali.
A human was sought after, but to no avail. Fortunately, a peasant from Simri in the neighboring Rautahat area came to the rescue and offered five drops of blood from his body—from the chest, mouth, bottom part of the eye, thigh, and arm—instead of his life as a sacrifice. Amazingly, that stopped the disaster.
Thus commences the sacrificial ceremony
The ritual officially begins after the chief priest performs panchbali, the tantric ceremonies of Goddess Tulaja, also known as Gadhimai, and the sacrifice of white mice, pigeons, ducks, pigs, and buffalo together with other animals on Marga Shukla Saptami according to the solar calendar.
By severing five separate body parts, blood is offered as a sign of the sacrifice. This time, Dukha Dhami, a tantrik from Simri named Rautahat, began by using the holy weapon to pierce the forehead, ear, tongue, right chest, and right loin. The puja (worship) is performed all night long.
The primary seat of worship, Bramhasthan, is claimed to naturally light up with the holy light as a result of the prayers and puja. According to Mangal Chaudhary, the temple’s main priest, “Panchabali starts after the automatic kindling of the light.” The violent act of sacrifice, which is frequently decried, has a long history in Hinduism.
The opponents of the practice claim that it misinterprets the symbolic meaning of avoiding demonic and monster traits.