y brother and I were staying at the Yak and Yeti Hotel, one of the best hotels in Kathmandu, Nepal, when we read a blurb in a guidebook about mass animal sacrifices being done in a temple in nearby Dakshinkali. Knowing this was probably a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see mass animal sacrifices, we cheerfully asked the concierge how we might obtain a goat to bring to the temple. She looked at us like we had lost our minds and proceeded to brush aside Dakshinkali as a “backwards” place that no one should want to see, but we didn’t listen. Goatless, we took a taxi to the temple. In one respect, the hotel concierge was right: the experience of watching animal sacrifices was much more disturbing than we would have ever expected — and nothing about the ritual was sugarcoated for tourists (we were the only ones). We spent the day watching hundreds of worshippers sacrifice chickens, goats, and bulls, and then smother gallons of the blood over themselves and the temple’s statue of the Hindu goddess Kali. Most people should probably skip this stomach-turning ritual, but for those with boundless curiosity, it’s a truly unique experience. WB
To read the whole story of the trip on which I discovered Dakshinkali Temple, read: Satiating bloodthirsty Kali — Witnessing mass animal sacrifices in Dakshinkali, Nepal.
How to See Mass Animal Sacrifices in Dakshinkali, Nepal
- OVERVIEW: Dakshinkali is a small village about a 45-minute drive from Kathmandu, Nepal. Animal sacrifices occur on Tuesdays and Saturdays and start early in the morning, though we arrived at around 10 AM and the lines into the temple were still many hours long. Officially, tourists are not permitted to enter the temple but may watch and photograph sacrifices from outside. (There are some adequate viewpoints on raised steps adjacent to the temple.) Nevertheless, the event is so chaotic that anyone who buys a goat or chicken and waits in line will almost certainly be admitted to have a sacrifice performed.
- LOGISTICS: Fly to Kathmandu, Nepal and ask a taxi driver to take you to the Dakshinkali temple on a Tuesday or Saturday morning (Saturdays are supposedly more popular among Nepalese families). It’s a long drive, but you should be able to get a round-trip ride for about 300 Nepalese rupees (US $4). You may also choose to take a 15 rupee bus from the Shahid Gate or City Bus stations. The trip can also be a scenic two hour, one-way cycling trip from Kathmandu if you have a mountain bike. Once you reach the hilltop, follow the maze of vendors until you reach a long line leading to the temple full of people holding flowers, chickens, and goats. Tourists who only want to take photographs need not stand in line — simply walk past the hordes and down the steps.