MYSURU: Hundreds of tourists, both from the region and abroad, flocked to Siddalingapura village near Mysuru on Thursday to witness the Kichchu Haisodu, an annual ritual held as part of the Sankranthi festivities.
On this day, cattle are dressed in colourful costumes and taken in a procession to the sound of beating drums. Later, they are made to jump over a fire by their owners. This ritual, that has remained a local affair since ages, turned into a mega event this year with more than a thousand tourists coming together to witness the event at the village on the Mysuru-Bengaluru highway. So big was the event that police were forced to close the highway for more than an hour. The entire village was decked up for the event with flowers and fancy lighting. The cattle were taken in a procession to the temple where organisers had set fire to dry straw spread across the road. The owners then took turns to help their cattle jump across the fire, encouraged by the cheers of onlookers. Umashanker, a resident of Sriranagapatna, said he had come along with his children to witness the ritual, which has been stopped in several other villages. “We are happy that this tradition is continuing in this village,” he added.
Though a few foreign tourists said the practise was inhumane and cruel, villagers maintained that the ritual, which they had been following since ages, helped keep evil at bay and kill any pests on the animals. They said the cattle were not harmed as the jump took only seconds.