Rituals From The Cannibal Indian Aghori Monks That Will Shock You

Cannibal Indian Aghoris Monks

Yes, you read the title right, cannibals.  On my holiday to India, I visited one of the most spiritual places in the world, Varanasi.  Every inch of this city jolts you, from the burning bodies to the starving people and the half-dead animals crying for help, but when I heard about the story of the Indian Aghori monks I was in shock.

It was a very hot day (as always), and I was walking around the markets in Varanasi.  I decided to duck into a jewellery shop not because I was really interested in it, but also because of the real golden masterpiece on the wall – the air-conditioner.  Inside, an Indian boy asked me where I was from.  I didn’t reply for a few seconds because this was a common line for most Indian men trying to start a conversation that I just couldn’t be bothered starting, but for some reason I answered.  He explained that he was from Kerala (South India) and was travelling with his Dutch friend who has been to India over 6 times.  He explained that nothing seems to faze her anymore but he was absolutely petrified as Kerala is a different world away from Varanasi.  It couldn’t have come at a better time to meet them simply .because I was at the point of getting aggressive at shopkeepers for asking me so many damn questions all the time.  She taught that I need to be calm and take everything as a joke, laugh, be cheeky and don’t take anything seriously in this country.  Her advice was true and is pretty much how I stayed sane the entire trip!

Fast forward – I walked around the city with them and met a pot-smoking Sadhu (holy person) who hadn’t eaten in 5 days and told me my future (that’s another story!), and then we decided that we should hop on a boat and watch the sunset before the famous ceremony of light on the edge of the Ganges.  While the guy was rowing, someone asked where does the bridge lead over in the distance.  He looked like he had just seen a ghost and told us never to go over there.  Of course, we asked why and he told us the story of the Aghori Monks.

The Aghoris are infamous with the locals because they apparently cast black magic if the locals go near them.  Most human beings run away from death.  We are afraid of dying or seeing people dead, but these monks are not, in fact, they live off the dead.  They welcome death into their lives like I welcome chocolate into mine.  A person has to die before a new person can come into this world, apparently.  But as we asked this guy more about what they do, the more my jaw dropped.

The most important and private ritual that they do is called Shav Putra.  In order to complete it, they must find a human corpse, which is quite hard to find it Varanasi as nearly everyone is cremated.  Some families in Varanasi, cannot afford rituals so instead they will put the bodies in the Ganges, which is how the Aghori literally ‘fish’ them out.  When they find a body they meditate on it, chop the head off (because it holds the most energy) and some Aghoris eat the flesh.  They believe that they can’t please God if they don’t do this human sacrifice.  They keep the skull of the corpse as a reminder of the impermanence of life and believe that all their acts are done in pursuit of spiritual liberation.  The Aghoris have their own kind of beliefs that are seen as evil and taboo with Hindus, which is why most of the locals stay right away from them.  They have no fear and digest all evil!

Other daily rituals include drinking urine and eating stools in their food.  They are also known to consume a lot of alcohol and marijuana.  One of the most important and chilling daily rituals that they do is smothering their face in human ash (or as they call it, holy ash).

The Aghoris are shunned out of the local society because of their ‘black magic’ so you may be hard-pressed to find them (that’s if you do want to find them).  If you want to know more about these monks then watch this YouTube video from a bunch of photographers that went to photograph them, it’s pretty amazing.  I couldn’t believe that this still existed in the modern day, but I should have known better, India is full of surprises!  I will never forget that chilling moment of the local telling us about the Aghoris.  It’s stories like these that make me think travelling is the best form of education.

Have you heard about the Aghoris?  If you’re looking for places to stay in Varanasi I highly recommend Hotels.com or Agoda as they have the best value for money rooms in the city!  Want to know more about Varanasi and the cremation process that happens here?  I wrote a blog post all about my favourite city in India, Varanasi!  Also, let me know if you want to hear the story about the pot-smoking, future telling Sadhu I met!  Oh India, I love you…

 

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Cannibal Indian Aghoris Monks

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15 Comments

  1. October 30, 2016 / 9:31 am

    Wow, that is something. I don’t think I’d want to go in search of the aghoris monks – just a bit too macabre for me

  2. October 30, 2016 / 11:17 am

    That is quite a story about the Aghori Monks, creepy but interesting at the same time! They have some pretty disgusting rituals too. I always wonder how do people could even think about drinking urine and eating stools in their food. Yuck!!!! Have to say your post is a real eye opener about different cultures.

  3. October 30, 2016 / 7:52 pm

    Ohh yea I have heard about this. This is true. Only thing I like about them is that they smoke joints all the time. You can even find videos in youtube of their horrific rituals which are really graphic.

  4. October 31, 2016 / 12:42 am

    Wow. This had me speechless. That is certainly interesting to say the least. I want to meet them but I still love my life so I’m content to read about them instead. Truly India holds so many secrets like these. One thing I wonder about though, is if they don’t get sick from all those things they’re eating (corpse, shit and piss). Great article!

  5. October 31, 2016 / 2:32 pm

    Wow, those are some pretty unusual rituals. I’m not sure I could get on board with the drinking of urine. What could be the benefit of that?

  6. October 31, 2016 / 8:05 pm

    Oh wow–I’ve never heard of the Aghoris. Definitely shocking and quite the story! It’s always interesting to learn about other cultures and some of the things they do, but I think I’d be up for keeping my distance from them, too!!

  7. October 31, 2016 / 8:05 pm

    This is so interesting..I thought I’d read the title wrong when I saw the word cannibals, I thought cannibalisitic tribes are part of an ancient past but now know it still exists in India!

  8. erikastravels
    October 31, 2016 / 8:27 pm

    It must have been such a sensory overload to wander around Varanasi. This was a fascinating read, as I knew nothing about the Aghoris before this post. It must have also been quite an experience to get your future told to you by someone who hasn’t eaten in five days!

  9. November 1, 2016 / 1:08 am

    As Indians, especially north Indian, we have heard these Aghori stories. Never came across one (and I don’t wish to 🙂 ) Cannibalism repels me, whatever be their reason for it. But yes, completely agree that India is full of surprises and would never cease to fascinate people across the world

  10. Alexander Alexanderov
    November 2, 2016 / 2:41 pm

    Thank you for very nice trip, and good information i never expected, would like to go and visit these places,
    Alex

  11. November 3, 2016 / 2:21 pm

    This post was absolutely fascinating. I saw the word cannibal but I though maybe this was something that took place in the past. Wow.

  12. November 4, 2016 / 7:03 pm

    Some rituals are really eye openers about aghoris as i am from India, but never heard of drinking urine and eating stool. What scared me more is their dressing and ash covered face.

  13. November 9, 2016 / 9:00 pm

    I thought Cannibals doesn’t exist now and reading this makes me grassy. Great information!

  14. June 8, 2017 / 4:53 pm

    I have read about Aghori Sadhus. I believe they also scoop out the heart from a corpse, and eat that! I have never heard of then drinking Urine and eating Stools though.
    This was an interesting read. I will be looking up your post once again, when I plan a trip to Varanasi. Thanks for sharing.

  15. July 24, 2017 / 5:00 pm

    Holy moly! This sounds so exciting.. creepy, but exciting! Something my husband would probably love to go and see. He’s up for anything that involves risking his life unfortunately. Lol.
    Great post! 🙂 Such a unique experience. Especially with the dope smoking fortune teller!

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