Features Friday, October 10, 2014 - 05:30
By Canis Lupus On the morning of September 26, a large number of village gods and/or their gurs (shamans) and kardars (priests and custodians of the devtas’ possessions) assembled at the Jagti Patt shrine in Naggar, Kullu district. (See photo above) The Jagti Patt is located, at the Naggar Castle in Kullu. They would decide on the recent Himachal High Court ban on animal sacrifice. The people were to ask the assembly of the devtas (speaking through a shaman acting as oracle) what they had decided on the issue of animal sacrifice. The only hitch: the gur was adamant that there won’t be any answer from the gods without first offering an animal. So the session began with the slaughtering of a goat.  The answer from the gods (speaking through the shaman, of course) was: “We won’t leave the old (custom) and won’t adopt the new.” However, some villages in Shimla District are said to have already banned animal sacrifice, besides restricting the number of wedding guests (baraatis) to a maximum of eighty. The events at the Jagati Patt brings to mind a function I attended last December in a village of Kullu district. This village, Dhaugi, is located on a mountainside in Sainj valley.  A view of Dhaugi village The occasion was the opening ceremony of the new temple building of the village devta named Laxminarayan. Now Laxminarayan is another name for Vishnu, and he is a vegetarian; that’s why vegetarian dhabas in the North are called Vaishno dhabas. The villager elders couldn’t imagine a devta’s feast without meat. How to get around their devta’s avoidance of killing animals? Easy. So easy in fact, they’ve been doing it for years. They invited the devta of a neighbouring village to the party. The guest devta helpfully honoured the host Laxminarayan by getting a number of sheep sacrificed (to himself). The first unfortunate sheep was hauled up to the porch roof of the new temple and the head cut off, the blood leaving a dark stain on the roofing slates. The meat was cooked and served in the community feast. The meat eaters were seated separately from the vegetarians. Things went a bit off the plans here. The new temple dedicated to devta Laxminarayan in Dhaugi village, Sainj district. The dark stain on the slates of the roof is of the sheep’s blood. The old temple is the tall structure on our right. An elder complained to me, in a what-is-this-world-coming-to manner, that he had never expected so many people in the vegetarian lines. It was the meat eaters who were in a minority this time. Lunch.  There were so many people that the ground in front of the temple proved too small. These folks are being served on the threshing floor of one of the neighbouring houses. Some of the festive crowd in the small meadow in front of the temple. Canis Lupus is a resident of Himachal Pradesh. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this articles are the personal opinions of the author. The News Minute is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information in this article. The information, facts or opinions appearing in this article do not reflect the views of The News Minute and The News Minute does not assume any liability on the same.

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