Hindu worshippers began killing thousands of buffalo, Tuesday, in what is reputedly as the world's biggest animal sacrifice festival, held every five years in a remote corner of Nepal. This is despite efforts to end the bloodshed.
The Gadhimai Festival kicked off in the early hours amid tight security with the ceremonial slaughter of a goat, rat, chicken, pig and a pigeon. A local shaman then offered blood from five points of his body.
Some 200 butchers with sharpened swords and knives then walked into a walled arena bigger than a football field that held several thousand buffalo as excited pilgrims climbed trees to catch a glimpse.
Thousands of worshippers from Nepal and neighboring India have spent days sleeping out in the open and offering prayers ahead of the event in Bariyarpur village, close to the Indian border.
An estimated 200,000 animals ranging from goats to rats were butchered in the last two days of the Gadhimai Festival in 2014, held in honor of the Hindu goddess of power.
According to legend, the first sacrifices in Bariyarpur were made several centuries ago when the goddess Gadhimai appeared to a prisoner in a dream and asked him to establish a temple for her.