Devotees in Gujarat allow cows and bulls to run over them in 'Gai Ghori' ritual (Re-issue)

Dahod (Gujarat), Nov 12: In a bizarre ritual, tribals in Gujarat allowed cows and bulls to run over them on Sunday.

Cows are considered sacred and worshipped across the country, but this annual ritual in Dahod village, locally called 'Gai Ghori', is one of its own kind.

The ritual is celebrated two-days after Diwali, the festival of lights, which also marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year.

A day after Diwali, the village head presides over a prayer ritual. After offering prayers to the deity, the animals are coloured and decorated with peacock feathers.

Cows and bulls are then driven over the devotees who lay face down on the ground.

"This is an age old ritual, which has been taking place for hundreds of years, " said Man Singh Bariya, head of the Village Council.

The daredevil act is a way of expressing gratitude to the "Almighty" for fulfilling their wishes.

The tribals also undertake the ordeal as an atonement of sins that they might have committed against the sacred animal.

"This is a matter of tradition and faith. We respect cows and regard them as "mother". She cannot harm anyone, " said Salra Behan Gohil, a resident.

The festival, which is celebrated mainly by tribals, symbolises the victory of righteousness over evil and the lifting of spiritual darkness. (ANI)