Hindu devotees to fire walk in city centre in honour of female deity

2008-03-21 00:00

Hindu devotees will participate in the annual fire walking ceremony at the Siva Soobramoniar and Marriamen temples in Pietermaritzburg today to commemorate the female deity Draupathi.

This 5 000-year-old tradition was brought to KZN by Hindu immigrants from the Madras area in south India over 140 years ago.

After 10 days of fasting, retired police Captain Ramkuwar Sunker will pierce his flesh with hooks and skewers and brave hot coals for the 32nd time.

The ritual is a physical manifestation of his devotion to the god Dbaba or Mudrayveeran (god of Great Spirit), he told The Witness.

Sunker said that he participates as a prayer offering for people who are suffering from various ailments and also for world peace.

“The piercings do not hurt because I have purified my body and cleared my mind,” he said. Sunker explained that much preparation goes into getting ready for the event. Devotees must avoid sexual pleasures, meat, alcohol and smoking for at least 10 days.

“Your body needs to be pure when you perform this prayer,” he added.

“I have been eating only fruit and vegetables and I have avoided all things pleasurable to me.”

Spectators will gather in their thousands and as a result most of Langalibalele (Longmarket) Street will be closed for the day.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.