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The description of the temple itself underlines Kali’s awful, uncivilized nature. The temple is constructed of bones, flesh, blood, heads, and body parts of enemies killed in battle. The severed heads are used as bricks, the blood is used to make mortar, elephant tusks serve as roof trusses, and on top of the enclosure walls (a common feature of South Indian temples) “the severed heads of peacocks, the heads of men offered as sacrifice, the heads of young babies also severed in sacrifice and blood-oozing flesh as standards were placed as beautifying elements.” The temple is “cleansed” daily with blood instead of water, and flesh is offered to the goddess instead of flowers. The fires consuming the corpses of sacrificial victims also serve as lamps.
The description of the worshipers and the puja at the temple is equally horrific. A graphic account is given of a devotee chopping off his own head as an offering to the goddess. Warriors also offer their heads to the goddess to demonstrate their fearlessness. Yoginis frequent the temple and arrive there with swords and severed heads, in appearance like Kali herself. The temple is “full of blood, flesh, burning corpses, vultures, jackals and goblins.” Kali herself is seated on a couch of five ghosts (panca preta) with a corpse as a pillow. She sleeps on a bed made of flesh.
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