Every year the Bagalkot district in the Indian state of Karnataka is home to a baby tossing ritual. Babies are thrown 30 feet (9m) off a temple while men wait below, holding a sheet, to catch them.
The ritual takes place at the Marutheshwara temple, near Mudhol town in Bagalkot. This interesting custom that locals know as Okali brings large crowds to the small town.
"This is a ritual that we have been observing from ancient times. The important thing is for us to have the spirit of worship in our hearts, because true worship is from the heart," trustees at the temple tell the Telegraph
The ceremony is not meant to harm the toddlers, and it has the support of local officials. They believe that being thrown off tall buildings makes the babies stronger.
The children are 3 months to 2 years old, and are brought to the temple by their consenting and eager parents. After being caught in a large sheet or a blanket, the infants are passed around the crowd until finally being returned to the parents.
The Indian National Commission for Protection of Child Rights opposes the ritual and was even able to have it banned in 2011, until its return this year. The participants at the ceremony argue that banning the event is an infringement of their religious rights.
“I'm absolutely shocked by this. It's not simply the government's job. We need to educate all those who take part in this barbaric practice - the temple priests and the community,” Commission spokesman Lov Verma said.
The ritual is viewed as a religious ceremony, and, much to the frustration of child rights activists, it pleases the crowd.