In a video of a ritual observed by the devotees of goddess Durga at the Durgaparameshwari temple in Kateel, Karnataka, people can be seen throwing flaming torches at each other. The ritual is known as agni kheli or thoothedhara and takes place for eight days during the month of April each year. Kateel is a small town near Mangaluru.
According to a report in the Deccan Chronicle, the ritual is aimed at appeasing the goddess. The flaming torches are actually burning palm fronds. Participants are divided into two groups and each one is permitted five tries to hit as many people in the other group as possible.
People who suffer burns during the ritual are sprayed with water of kumkum, which is a red powder made from saffron and turmeric, Deccan Chronicle quoted a devotee as saying.
Devotees from the villages Athoor and Kodathoor near the temple are the primary participants of the festival.