Indian villagers jump into huge pile of thorns from rooftops in bizarre ritual

In a bizarre religious ritual, villagers in India jumped into a huge pile of thorns from a rooftop on December 13.

The thorns cushioned their fall but sliced into their skin, causing punctures and bleeding

People of Lebageri village near Koppala in South India perform the thorn ritual every year to worship a local deity Marutheshwara.

A day prior to the festival, the villagers go to a nearby forest and pull out branches of various thorn-trees such as thorny acacia, thorn mimosa and gum arabic with their bare hands, and make a huge pile near a local temple. The next day the ritual is held.

This year several men climbed the rooftop of a house and leapt into the pile of thorns, while a few just waded through the pile.

A local resident Ramesh Patil, 36, said during a time of crisis the villagers take a vow to perform the thorn ritual if the local deity Marutheshwara helps them overcome their problems.

“Once they get over the crisis, it is payback time,” said Sandesh.

Villagers say they have been performing the thorn ritual for generations but no one has been seriously injured so far.