Tens of women lined up to get whipped by priests so as to "drive evil spirits away," part of a peculiar annual ritual at the Sri Achappan Temple in Bavithram Vellalapatti, a remote village in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Saturday.
Dressed in traditional attire, male priests cracked their whips on older women and school girls alike, as they sat along the temple's sprawling "lashing grounds."
"Female devotees believe if they get whip lashes from the priest, the evil forces will leave their souls," Selvakumar, a male local, said.
Saranya, a female devotee partaking I the ritual, said "I am having health issues for a longer period with pain in hands and legs, so I visited the temple today to get whipped."
Some women were left wounded, and some started crying out loud from the pain inflicted by the rough whips, though their grimaces and cries didn't ward off the women still in queue to for their turn to meet the blessed whippers.