Kandkur village in northern Karnataka worships and plays with venomous scorpions.
In this annual fair on Nagara Panchami, people not only offer puja to scorpions, but also take these venomous stingers in their hands and allow them to move freely over their bodies.
Devotees throng the temple on the village hillock where they first offer pooja to Goddess Konddammai who is said to be a scorpion goddess. Later, they search for scorpions, which are in plenty under the rocks and the stones of the semi-arid region.
The devotees’ courage stems from the belief that Goddess Kondammai will save them should the scorpion bite.
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