Centuries-old tradition of stone-pelting in Himachal's Dhami given a miss amid COVID-19

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A visual from Dhami village on Sunday. Photo/ANI
A visual from Dhami village on Sunday. Photo/ANI

Dhami (Himachal Pradesh) [India], November 16 (ANI): The centuries-old tradition of stone-pelting, performed by different groups in Himachal Pradesh's Dhami village to appease Goddess Kali, was given a miss this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The locals of Dhami village, which is nearly 30 km from state capital Shimla, instead of organising the stone-pelting fair, took out a rally to the temple.

Annually two teams of people representing four clans on one side and one clan on other throw stones at each other. As per tradition, one group from Jathoti, Tunru, Daghoi and Karedu clans of the village and the other from the family of Jamogi clan pelt stones at each other.

When one of the persons participating in the event gets injured, blood is offered to the goddess. This year, no stone-pelting was observed and blood was offered by cutting fingers.

"Authorities have asked us to conduct the event keeping the government's COVID-19 guidelines. People are following the rules and no crowd has gathered to observe the event. No stone-pelting was done this year and people from the groups offered blood by making cuts on their fingers," said Jagdeep Singh, one of the organisers and a member of the Royal family.

The historic fair is celebrated on the day after Diwali. The procession starts from the temple built by the then King of Dhami and people from two different local clans gather at the venue and throw stones at each other.

"Due to COVID-19, the stone-pelting fair has been done away with this year," a local said.

People believe that the erstwhile queen of Dhami sacrificed herself to end the practice of human sacrifice and asked people to start a fair in which people of two clans will throw stones at the sky and continue until someone is hit, and the blood of that person would be then offered to the Goddess Kali. (ANI)