Shimla, Nov 13 (SocialNews.XYZ) The centuries-old, stone-pelting festival was held in an erstwhile princely estate near Shimla on Monday. The villagers throw stones at each other till one of them gets injured and applies tilak on the deity with human blood. This is considered very auspicious.
Every year, a day after Diwali, hundreds of locals gather at Dhami, around 25 km from Himachal Pradesh’s capital Shimla, to participate in the traditional stone-throwing festival ‘Patharon ka Khel’.
Sporting new clothes, the villagers who were divided into two groups – one belonging to the erstwhile royal family and the other group comprising of commoners – throw stones at each other for about 15-20 minutes after the arrival of the deity from the Nara Singh and Kali Devi temple housed in Dhami’s crumbling royal palace.
Legend has it that the ritual started after the practice of ‘human sacrifice’ that was done to appease the deity, was stopped by the erstwhile rulers of Dhami.
Old-timers say that stone-pelting takes place between residents of Halog Village, once the capital of Dhami estate, and Jamog Village.
The ritual comes to an end only when a participant suffers a face injury and applies ‘tilak’ on the idol of Goddess Kali with blood.
Human rights activists have been seeking a ban on the festival saying it amounted to cruelty against humans.
The local administration that has been discouraging the villagers from participating in the ritual, had set up a makeshift medical camp to treat the injured.
The British loved Dhami’s rich forests and called it a hunter’s paradise.