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Gadhimai festival

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Title: Gadhimai festival  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Animal sacrifice, Hindu festivals, Superstition in India, Fur trade, Diet in Hinduism
Collection: Animal Festival or Ritual, Animal Sacrifice, Animal Welfare, Festivals in Nepal, Hindu Festivals
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gadhimai festival

Gadhimai festival
गढ़िमाई पर्ब
Animals at Gadhimai festival
Status Active
Genre Festivals
Begins 28 November 2014
Frequency every 5 years
Venue Bariyarpur
Location(s) Bara District
Most recent 28 November 2014 (2014-11-28)
Previous event 2009
Next event 2019
Attendance 3 million people
Area 3-5 km radius around the Gadhimai temple

Gadhimai festival is a sacrificial ritual that is held every 5 years at the Gadhimai temple of Bariyarpur, in Bara District, about 100 miles (160 km) south of the capital Kathmandu in southern Nepal, near the Indo-Nepal border. The event involves the world's second largest sacrificial slaughter of animals after Hajj (but third largest in terms of number of animals consumed after Thanksgiving and Eid al-Adha) including water buffaloes, pigs, goats, chicken, rats, and pigeons – with the goal of pleasing Gadhimai, the goddess of power.[1]


  • Description 1
  • Controversies 2
  • 2014 3
  • Reactions 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6


About 5 million people participate in the festival, Madheshis and 70% of the devotees are the people from the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Attending the festival in Nepal circumvents the ban on animal sacrifice in their own states.[2][3] Participants believe that animal sacrifices to the Hindu goddess Gadhimai will end evil and bring prosperity.[4][5]

A month before the ritual in 2009, the Madheshi politicians realized there would be a "severe shortage" of goats for the ritual sacrifice, as well as for the consumption of goat meat during the festival. They began a radio campaign urging farmers to sell their animals.[6]

The festival started in the first week of November 2009 and ended in the first week of December (up to makar sankranti), the fair has a custom of animal sacrifice that occurred on November 24 & 25 in the year 2009, with the temple's head priest performing ritual sacrifice called Saptabali which includes the sacrifice of white mice, pigeons, roosters, ducks, swine and male water buffaloes. More than 20,000 buffaloes were sacrificed on the first day.[7] It is estimated that 250,000 animals were sacrificed during the Gadhimai festival of 2009.[8] The ritual killings were performed by more than 200 men in a concrete slaughterhouse near the temple.[9] Three infant children of Indian pilgrims who had come to observe Gadhimai festival died due to the extreme cold.[7] Six Indians died after drinking adulterated "hooch".[3]


The festival has prompted numerous protests by animal rights activists and Nepalese Hindus from Hill region.[10][11] In 2009 activists made several attempts to stop the ritual, including Brigitte Bardot and Maneka Gandhi, who wrote to the Nepalese government asking them to stop the killings.[12][13] A government official commented that they would not "interfere in the centuries-old tradition of the Madheshi people."[2] Ram Bahadur Bomjon, claimed by some of his supporters to be the reincarnation of the Buddha, said that he would attempt to stop the sacrifice at the festival, preaching non-violence and offering a blessing at the place.[14][15] His promise prompted the government to send additional forces to prevent any incident.[15]

After the festival, the meat, bones and hides of the animals are sold to companies in India and Nepal.[1]

Because the men who take on the role of killing the animals are largely unskilled in the ways of humane slaughter there is a concern that the animals are suffering needlessly, and dying slow and painful deaths.


On 3 December 2014 a woman who came to attend the festival raped by gang of people.[16]


The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has directed the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to monitor and make sure no animals get to Nepal for the festival.[17]

See also


  1. ^ a b Jolly, Joanna (24 November 2009). "Devotees flock to Nepal animal sacrifice festival". BBC. Retrieved 24 November 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Gadhimai festival begins despite protests in Nepal". The Hindu. 24 November 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Sarkar, Sudeshna (24 November 2009). "Indians throng Nepal's Gadhimai fair for animal sacrifice". The Times of India. Retrieved 24 November 2009. 
  4. ^ "Gadhimai Festival: Nepal Mass Animal Sacrifice Festival To Go Ahead Despite Protests". The Huffington Post. 20 November 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 
  5. ^ "In pictures: Hindu animal sacrifice festival in Nepal". BBC News. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Nepal hit by severe goat shortage". BBC. 15 September 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "Over 20,000 buffaloes slaughtered in Gadhimai festival". 25 November 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Xiang, Zhang. "Gadhimai festival begins in central Nepal". Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 
  10. ^ "Never Again". The Kathmandu Post. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "Gadhimai Festival:Why it must never happen Again". Think Differently. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "Bardot appeal over animal slaughter at Nepal festival". BBC. 20 November 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 
  13. ^ Bhanot, Anil (25 November 2009). "The Gadhimai sacrifice is grotesque". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 
  14. ^ "Sacrifice of 200,000 Animals Proceeds Despite Pleas, Prayers". Environment News Service. 22 November 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 
  15. ^ a b "Buddha boy fails to turn up at Gadhimai". Republica. 20 November 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Gadaimai slaughter: Bihar, UP asked to check animal flow into Bara". Kantipur. 13 October 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014. 
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