Gadhimai Festival, which happens every five years at the Gadhimai Temple of Bariyarpur in Nepal, is said to be the world's third largest animal sacrificial slaughter. Gadhimai, the goddess of power, is said to bring good luck and prosperity and millions of devotees gather for the festival with animals.
The Hindu festival kicked off on Friday morning killing more than 6,000 buffaloes. More than two lakh animals, including birds and goats, are still lined up for the sacrificial ceremony, which will come to an end on Saturday.
The ceremony started early morning with 'pancha bali', the sacrifice of a rat, goat, rooster, pig and pigeon.
"It has been a grand day. The buffalo sacrifice has ended, but we will continue the rituals with goats and other animals for one more day," Mangal Chaudhary, head priest at the Gadhimai temple said, reported Daily Mail.
In 2009, the previous Gadhimai festival, more than two lakh animals and birds were sacrificed. While animal slaughter is banned in many parts of the world, authorities support the festival, citing it as an old tradition. Many animal activists, who consider the festival barbaric, campaigned to stop this age old practice.
"We are trying to convince the people that they can worship at the shrine peacefully and without being cruel to animals," Uttam Kafle, of rights group Animal Nepal, told Reuters.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of India recently asked the government to discontinue sending animals to Nepal for the ritual.