Hindu festival sees man paint himself jet black and smack people with tongs

Hindu devotees in north India have engaged in a unique ritual in the run up to Holi next week, by having a man daubed in black paint charge through the streets striking people with a pair of tongs.

Ahead of Holi, the festival of colours, the festival of Bhairo Dev Jhanki was celebrated yesterday (March 14) with much enthusiasm in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir state. A major figure is a man who is painted black to resemble "Bhairon Baba", a depiction of the divine figure Bhairava.

The seven-day-long festival is celebrated by both Hindu and Muslim communities, and it is believed that those who receive a pat from the tongs of 'Bhairon Baba' get blessed with good luck.