Nepal's Gadhimai Fest is The World's Largest Animal Sacrifice Ritual

Many were hopeful the centuries-old tradition would end after the temple authorities announced a ban in 2015 and Nepal's supreme court directed the government to discourage the bloodshed a year later

Many were hopeful the centuries-old tradition would end after the temple authorities announced a ban in 2015 and Nepal's supreme court directed the government to discourage the bloodshed a year later

Some 200 butchers with sharpened swords and knives then walked into a walled arena bigger than a football field that held several thousand buffaloes as excited pilgrims watched.

"We had tried to not help it however folks think about the custom and have come right here with their choices", Birendra Prasad Yadav, of the competition organising committee, advised information company AFP. Thousands of goats were also bound for sacrifice - mostly by having their throats slit - as well as pigs and even some rats.

The sacrifices, set to begin on Tuesday, take place every five years in the village of Bariyarpur close to the Indian border, in honour of the Hindu goddess of power.

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper. "Eight years ago, I made a wish for a brother and the goddess blessed us with him", Priyanka Yadav, of Janakpur, explained to BBC Nepali. "My mother had asked her for the good health of my son", said Rajesh Kumar Das, 30, holding a goat in his hand.

Some 200,000 animals had been killed over the last competition, in 2014.

When he awoke, his shackles had fallen open and he was able to leave the prison and build the temple, where he sacrificed animals in gratitude.

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Merchants and unlicensed pilgrims who cross the border between India and Nepal are responsible for supplying most of the animals, and Indian security officers and volunteers confiscate the scores at the crossings.

"The temple committee seems to be shaken by the campaigns as well as the government. The variety of animals sacrificed are step by step reducing", stated Amruta Ubale of Animal Equality India.

In August 2016, Nepal's Supreme Court directed the government to stop animal sacrifices at the Gadhimai temple fair.

Animal rights activists, who fed some of the animals, were up in arms against the slaughter of animals, but the temple authorities have continued to observe it saying it's part of a centuries-old tradition.

Lower than 5 years in the past, animal charities heralded the top of animal sacrifice at a non secular competition dubbed "the world's bloodiest". India's Supreme Court, too in 2014 had prohibited the transportation of animals from India to Nepal for the festival.

"Devout Hindus could be requested not to offer animal sacrifice to the goddess, but they could not be forced not to do so - nor [could] the tradition be banned or stopped completely", he said at the time.

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