Photographer of The Hindu based in Vijayawada, V.Raju bagged the third prize for a photograph on animal sacrifice at the State-level contest conducted by Andhra Pradesh Photo Journalists Association (APPJA).
The picture which is too gruesome to publish in these columns is of the decapitation of a ram as an offering to the noted village deity, Ganganamma thalli, in Kaikaluru village in Krishna district.
Devotees sacrifice animals to the deity during the sravanamasam (end of July and beginning of August).
People from the village come home during the season and all the households in the village contribute money for the purchase of a few rams. The rams are first taken around the village covering every household. The womenfolk offer prayer to the sacrificial rams with water “purified” with neem leaves, turmeric and vermillion power.
The rams are taken to the temple and more pujas are performed. The rams are then taken back to the village and sacrificed there. The entire village then shares the meat. The photograph captures the severing of the ram’s head with one single blow of a huge knife specially designed for it.