As part of a post-Diwali celebration in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhidavad village, brave men lie on the ground and allow themselves to be trampled by dozens of cattle in the name of religion.
The festival of Diwali is marked with various rituals and traditions across India, but none quite as bizarre as the custom of one village in Madhya Pradesh, where men lie on the ground and allow cows to walk all over them in the hopes that it will make all their wishes come true. According to tradition, the cows are worshipped in the village in the morning, and then daredevils lie down on the ground while the cows trample them. People believe that 33 crores (330 million) of gods and goddesses reside in cows, and by allowing cows to walk over them, one receives the blessings of the gods.
According to the people of Bhidavad, devotees have to fast for five days and spend a night in the local temple before Diwali, after which they worship the cows in the morning, before allowing themselves to be trampled. As the cattle are released to walk all over the devotees, the villagers chant prayers and sing hymns.
After getting tenderized by dozens of cows, devotees stand up and start to dance to the start of drums. Interestingly, no one ever gets hurt during the bizarre ritual. We originally covered the unusual tradition back in 2012, and even though the tradition has been upheld in Bhidavad almost every year since, there have never been any injuries reported.