Every five years, millions of Hindus gather at the temple of Gadhimai, the goddess of power, in Bariyarpur, Nepal to kill more than 250,000 animals including buffalo, birds and goats.
This practice is said to be performed to honor a Hindu goddess. According to People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, who strongly opposes the practice, more than 250,000 animals were also slaughtered when the festival was last held in 2009.
Thousands of buffaloes were slaughtered as part of a Hindu tradition in Nepal.
A butcher is on the look out for his next kill at the Gadhimai festival.
The killing fields where hundreds of thousands of animals are slaughtered.
The devotees believe the killings would appease Gadhimai, the Hindu goddess of power.
Water buffalo in the midst of having its head cut off in front of the spectators.
At the start of the festival, 5,000 buffaloes were killed, followed by successive killings for two days.
PETA is strongly advocating the complete cessation of this practice.
According to a local government official named Yogendra Prasad Dulal, it is quite impossible to give the exact number of animals sacrificed.
“It has been a grand day,’ Mangal Chaudhary, said head priest at a the Gadhimai temple. ‘The buffalo sacrifice has ended, but we will continue the rituals with goats and other animals for one more day,”
More than 6,000 buffaloes and 1,000 goats were slaughtered by worshipers on the first day alone, Chaudhary said.
The festival shall continue for another day, where approximately 1,000 more animals are expected to be killed.
According to Dulal, about 2.5 million worshipers came to the festival.
This butcher proudly holds his blade, which was blessed the night before.
The ritual began at the dawn of the festival where five types of animals including a rat, a goat, a rooster, a pig, and a pigeon are killed, prior to the buffalo-killing series.
The mass slaughter lasts for two days.
A devotee slaughters an animal using his kukri, a traditional Nepalese knife.
The local government said they cannot ban the people’s traditional beliefs.
The mass killing continues despite appeals from animal advocates.
Every five years, devotees gather for this festival to behead thousands of animals.
Loud and proud: the pilgrims raised their knives the night before the festival.
Devotees spend the night camping out and praying to their Hindu goddess.
The temple was filled with people showing off their sharp blades as a sign of devotion.
These worshipers are all excited to participate in the mass slaughter.
While the unsuspecting buffaloes are waiting, unaware of their impending doom.
This farmer lead his beloved cattle to its death.
Families arrive from across the borders to pay homage to Gadhimai.
Spectators even climbed trees just to witness the bloody ceremonies.
Millions of people gather every five years for the Gadhimai festival.
Devotees also ‘cleanse’ themselves in Gadhimai temple to please the goddess.
Butchers couldn’t hide the excitement on their faces as they prepare for the ceremonies.
Even pigeon are being offered to Gadhimai by some devotees.
A young black goat is carried by its owner for the mass slaughter at the temple.
The police were present to make sure that the big crowd was controlled.
A Hindu man with full conviction and belief in his traditions.
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