In an extremely absurd ritual of a temple in Madurai city in Tamil Nadu, young girls are obligated to live bare-chested and spend 15 days in the care of a male priest as part of the ritual. These girls are apparently worshipped and decked up as Goddesses and are only allowed covering their body with jewellery.

This strange incident came to light when the Madurai collector had to intervene. The administration ordered on Tuesday that they should be allowed to cover their bodies.

In this ‘so called’ ritual, only girls who haven’t reached puberty are sent to the temple. Madurai collector K Veera Raghava Rao, who ordered clothes for the girls to ensure they were not harassed or abused, said that it is an ancient custom and parents send their girls voluntarily to the temple.

The collector however stated that he had sent a team of officials for investigation and found no abuse or assault of children at the temple. He has instructed these communities to ensure that the girls are fully covered and there are no signs or any assault or abuse.

In this local ritual which is performed at a Madurai temple, more than 60 villages participate where the girls are dressed and worshipped like goddesses and paraded half-naked.

Madurai has been famous for such absurd rituals in the past. Many years ago, the age-old ‘child burial’ practice had caused international outrage. Under the ‘child burial’ ritual, childless couple, when blessed with a baby, were expected to bury their new born under one-foot pit for a minute as fulfillment of their vow.

The practice was later banned by the state government under huge condemnation by human rights bodies.