India To Ban Baby-Blessing Festival

Every first week of December in a rural district in the state of Karnataka, villagers drop babies from the top of a 30-foot Hindu temple onto a blanket held by a crowd below, amid dancing and singing.

Thousands of people assembled on Wednesday at the temple near Indi in the district of Bijapur to witness the event, which is said to confer good health and a long life on the baby and bring prosperity to the family.

But the centuries-old tradition has fallen foul of local authorities. “As I am new to the district, I did not know about the unusual ritual, which is terrifying for babies,” Bijapur deputy commissioner R. Shantharaj told AFP by phone from the district, 373 miles from state capital Bangalore.

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