In This Uttarakhand Festival, People Pelt Stones At Each Other

This year there were more than 60 injuries.

Every year, hundreds of people in a remote village in Uttarakhand come together for an unusual festival. In Devidhura village which is situated in Champawat district, people pelt stones at each other to celebrate Bagwal festival. The stone pelting is a part of a custom and is done to please the local deity, goddess Barah Devi.

The Bagwal festival has an interesting story of its own. According to the local folklore, the village belonged to goddess Barah Devi. When the villagers were attacked by demons, they prayed to the goddess to save their lives. The goddess came to their rescue but demanded one human sacrifice in return every year. However, a woman whose son was about to be sacrificed pleaded to the goddess for mercy. The goddess agreed on the condition that blood equal to one human should be sacrificed every year. Since then, people have been practising this custom where they shed blood. Many people get injured during the festival.


In 2013, the Uttarakhand High Court ordered took notice of the issue. It then ordered that stones should be replaced with fruits and flowers so as ensure minimum injuries. However, the villagers continue to flout the order. This year, there were more than 60 injuries.