Nuts! Inviting brain haemorrhage
In a bizarre plea to the Gods for health and success, devotees smash coconuts on their heads in Tamil Nadu - often causing serious injuries to them.
Chennai: In a bizarre plea to the Gods for health and success, devotees smash coconuts on their heads in Tamil Nadu - often causing serious injuries to them.
Thousands of people flock to a temple festival in Tamil Nadu in Nilakottai union of Dindigul district, to take part in the painful practice every year.
Men, women and even children patiently sit in lines as godmen are handed large coconuts, before bringing them crashing down on their skulls. Many wince in pain, while others - apparently in a meditative state or simultaneously praying - barely flinch.
Each year dozens are tended by medical staff for serious injuries - prompting doctors to warn that the practice is potentially deadly and ironically hazardous to health. Anil Kumar Peethambaran, a neurosurgery professor at the Indian governments medical college, told local media: 'There is a certain amount of tolerance for the skull beyond which it will cause damage. 'If the coconut breaks, the energy is dissipated, but when it doesn't this can cause damage to the skull.'
But despite the warnings, many refuse to stop the ancient tradition, which is thought to have begun in the 19th century. One devotee said: 'My family have been coming here for years. Today four of us have come for the ritual. The coconuts broke well - we hope it brings success.' Many people rub their heads as the rock hard fruit is crashed against it, while others collect the broken pieces as offerings to the gods.