Awaken Nepal

Gadhimai Festival-the world’s biggest animal sacrifice is banned

Gadhimai festival where Hindus slaughter hundreds of thousands of animals to appease a Goddess has been finally banned by religious leaders.

This bloody centuries-old tradition where more than 500,000 buffalo, goats, chickens and other animals were decapitated  in 2009, and another 250,000 in 2014.


Gadhimai festival which is also known as the world’s biggest animal sacrifice is now banned which will spare the lives of millions more animals in the coming years.

The chairman of the Gadhimai Temple Trust, which organised previous festivals, has released a heartwarming statement saying: ‘The time has come to replace killing and violence with peaceful worship and celebration.’

History and origin of Gadhimai Festival

The origin of the festival goes back 265 years. According to Hindu mythology, a feudal landlord was sleeping in prison when he dreamed he would be freed from all his worldly suffering after making a blood sacrifice to Gadhimai, the goddess of power.

The goddess asked for a human sacrifice, but Bhagwan Chowdhary successfully offered her the blood of an animal instead – and the practice has been continued every year since.


It grew for over two centuries and in 2009, more than five million people attended the two-day ‘festival’ at the Gadhimai Temple in southern Nepal. Around 80 per cent of those were thought to have traveled from India just to see the killings.

Thousands sit on the walls of the Gadhimai temple as the buffalo, goats, chickens and other animals are shepherded in and decapitated by 200 men armed with long, razor-sharp blades.

The last ritual in 2014 began at dawn with a ceremony known as the ‘pancha bali’ – the sacrifice of five animals: A rat, a goat, a rooster, a pig and a pigeon.

By the end of the day’s killing, thousands of the animals’ corpses – and their severed heads – would cover the massive expanse of grass inside the temple’s walls.

‘For every life taken, our heart is heavy,’ the Gadhimai Temple Trust Chairman wrote in an honest and emotional statement announcing the end of the festival.