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Hindu devotees pierce bodies in Siliguri to appease gods.

Siliguri (West Bengal), April 15 ( ANI ): Hindu devotees in Siliguri pierced their bodies and hung from metal hooks while paying homage to Lord Shiva to mark the end of the Bengali calendar.

A Hindu priest, Shamal Barui, who punctured skewers into the bodies of some of the devotees, said some of them also burn their tongues.

" We really enjoy this time," he said.

Celebrated in rural parts of West Bengal and in neighbouring Bangladesh, this bizarre celebration is dedicated to Lod Shiva and Goddess Kali, who are considered epitomes of power.

An onlooker, Shilpi Mandal, said the sight of the men hanging from metal hooks pierced through their bare backs left her numb.

"I was shocked to see men tied with ropes, hanging from the bamboo tree with piercings in the back as their only support. I am seeing something so bizarre for the first time. It is a completely different experience," she said.

The men pierce parts of their tongues, backs and necks with skewers, needles, spikes and metal hooks without showing any signs of pain --- believing that this will mark the end of the pain and sorrow and herald a year full of happiness.

Preparations for the Charak Puja-as the festival is popularly known, begin a month earlier when the bearers of the ritual fast from dawn to dusk, and worship Lord Shiva.

On the day a number of religious rituals are performed.

Others witnessing the ritual said it was a once in a lifetime experience for them.

An onlooker Amitabh Ghosh said: "I have not seen anything like this before. I really enjoyed watching it. I saw men piercing their bodies and some burning their tongues."

The Charak Puja has long been part of the rural landscape with young men showing their gusto by piercing various parts of their bodies.

However, it is now restricted to only remote areas after the government banned certain practices of the festivals. ( ANI )

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Apr 15, 2013
Words:337
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