Dozens of women and teenagers, believed to be possessed by evil spirits, queued up to receive therapeutic lashings during an annual Hindu festival held in southern India.
The extreme religious ceremony is thought to cure illness and exorcise evil spirits.
RT reports: Ruptly footage shows women kneeling down in a “lashing ground” and having their backs and hands whipped by priests, as part of ‘Vijayadasami’ festivities held in the village of Bavithram Vellalapatti.
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The participants are seen bowing as they take turns receiving blows from the priests, who are dressed in ceremonial garb. Some are seen flinching as they brace for another lashing.
The ritual is supposed to rid women and girls of evil spirits, as well as heal ailments. According to tradition, if a woman doesn’t feel pain, it means she has fallen victim to dark forces.
“When the priest lashes the women they won’t feel any pain if they are possessed by evil spirits. Otherwise, it will be painful. The evil spirits after several lashes will run away from the woman’s body,” a local resident told Ruptly.