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Temple priest stumbles and falls in fiery coal pit, sustains serious burn injuries

Temple priest stumbles and falls in fiery coal pit, sustains serious burn injuries


Story by Sumesh RajanMumbai: March 7, 2018


A priest sustained serious burn injuries while attempting to run across a fiery coal pit as part of a religious festivity at a temple in India.

The incident took place on March 5 during the Kandotsav festivities at the Sri Maramma Devi temple located in Sathanur village in Kanakapura taluka (division) of Ramanagara district in the south Indian state of Karnataka.

The terrifying footage – shot by one of the devotees – shows the priest being readied for the ritual while the devotees surrounding the coal pit shouting and goading him. At the fourth stride, the priest – identified as Ravi in his mid-thirties – stumbles and scrambles to run across the fiery coals. However, unable to balance, he repeatedly keeps falling to the horror of the bystanders. Finally, a seriously burnt Ravi is lifted out of the coal pit.

He has been admitted to Kempegowda Hospital in Bengaluru, and is undergoing treatment for the burn injuries, say local police sources.

This is not the first instance such a mishap has occurred during a fire-walk. Last year, in a similar incident, the 38-year-old head priest of Kalabairaveshwara Temple in Mandya district of the same state was badly burnt in the Kandotsav held there. Three years ago, a 65-year-old man died after falling into the burning coal embers as he took part in the fire-walk at Kalikamba temple in Mandya district.

Though fire-walking is part of religious festivities in many temples in South India, rationalists say that the act of walking fiery coals – performed mostly to appease gods, to cure illness, in fear or to fulfill a vow undertaken – falls within the scope of superstitious acts, and needs to be stopped. 



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