This is the incredible festival where scorpions are allowed to crawl over people’s faces – and even toddlers take part.
The bizarre decades-old ritual, which takes place during the Hindu celebration of Naga Panchami, sees droves of people flock to the village of Kandkoor in Karnataka in southern India.
The villagers then make their way to the local hilltop temple which includes an idol of Kondammai – the Hindu scorpion goddess.
Incredible footage has emerged from the village of Kandkoor in India where worshippers celebrate the Hindu festival of Naga Panchami by letting scorpions crawl over them – and even children take part
A young boy poses for the camera after having a scorpion placed on his head
Another child who seems completely at ease with a scorpion on his head
One woman puts one of the scorpions inside her mouth and stick outs her tongue
While there, people offer the idol saris, coconuts and oil before praying for good health and prosperity.
But before making their way back down the hill, those taking part in the festival search the ground for scorpions and place them on their faces and bodies.
Incredible footage shows people dangling the arachnids in their mouths and putting them on the heads of children.
The scorpion ritual has been taking place for decades and now attracts people from other villages and states
Villagers say there have hardly been any cases of people being stung by the animals during the festival
They believe that Kodammai will protect them from harm.
According to the New Indian Express, the villagers say there are hardly any cases of people being stung by the creatures during the festival and there have been no reported deaths.
The ritual had just been confined to the village but after gaining attention in recent years people now travel to Kandkoor for the festival from neighbouring states.
A man allows a scorpion to crawl on his face during the Hindu celebration
Onlookers crowd around a man who offers his tongue for a scorpion to crawl on
However, in most other parts of India, the celebration of Naga Panchami sees prayers and milk blessings offered to cobras and other deadly serpents.
Many play with the snakes as though they are toys – in traditional snake charmer villages, like Kapari in Uttar Pradesh state, children are taught the art from a young age to avoid fear.
Milk – a traditional tribute – is poured on the snakes’ faces as the charmers play music. Rice and flowers are also offered to the reptiles.
A young girl takes part in the festival, allowing one of the creatures to crawl up her hand
The villagers believe that Kodammai, the Indian goddess of scorpions, will protect them from harm
In most other parts of India, the celebration of Naga Panchami sees prayers and milk blessings offered to cobras and other deadly serpents