A 37-year-old priest in India's southwest state of Karnataka suffered severe burns after he tripped and fell on the red-hot coals, called as agnikonda, during temple festivities Sunday.
The priest, identified as Vijay Kumar of the Sri Revanna Siddeshwara Swamy temple in Karnataka's Ramanagara town, fell face-first into the burning coal when he was performing the firewalking ritual.
The incident occurred at around 6.30 am Sunday when Kumar started to walk in the agnikonda holding a sword. According to The Times of India, he had covered half the length of the agnikonda when he slipped.
His brother, Manjunath, and another person immediately rushed to help him. While attempting to save Kumar, Manjunath and the other priest suffered burn injuries.
"The duo was immediately taken to a private hospital in Ramanagara town and later shifted to St John's Medical College Hospital in Bengaluru city for treatment," TOI quoted an office bearer of the Sri Revanasiddeshwara Swamy Kshetra Abhivrudhi Seva Trust as saying.
"Manjunath suffered burn injuries to his feet, while his brother Kumar suffered injuries to his chest, legs, and hands. Both are out of danger," he added.
A video of the incident has emerged on YouTube that shows Kumar running on the hot coals and falling face-first, while two people coming to his rescue to pull him out of the agnikonda.
Kumar was reportedly treated with burns to more than 60 percent his legs, while the other two suffered around 15 to 20 percent burns. The injured were later moved to St. John's Medical College Hospital in Bengaluru.
What is firewalking?
It is an act of walking barefoot over hot coals or stones and has been practiced by several in India. During this year's Holi, the festival of colors, residents of a Gujarat village walked on burning coals. From children to elderly people, all age group people reportedly walked on the hot coals.