Aghori Sadhus in Varanasi


The disturbing world of the cannibal Aghori Monks

The Aghori Sadhus are a Hindu cult that have been excommunicated from hinduism.


Most of us have seen the 1984 George Lucas – Steven Spielberg directed cult movie “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”. I remember seeing it with my nephew on a regular Sunday afternoon, while my grandparents were playing cards. The famous ritual scene where they worship the goddess Kali Ma, left a very deep impression on both of us. Only recently I found out that this ritual scene was based on an actual existing cult, practiced until today in several cities, Varanasi being one of them.


The Aghori Sadhus worship the goddess Kali Ma, or mother Kali. She is the ultimate representation of feminine power of destruction. She is untamable and has her heart and mind set upon destruction and consumptive efforts. Kali represents the force of the ultimate devourer, as she is displayed covered in blood. The figure she represents is one that is sufficient to strike fear into the weak. Blood sacrifices of animals are not uncommon in her worship, and she is known to have received human sacrifices too.


The monks are feared across India; the Aghori Sadhu of Varanasi feed on human flesh and live near cremation sites in search of spiritual enlightenment. They eat and drink from a “kapala” (Sanskrit for “skull”) or skullcup, a cup made from a human skull used as a ritual bowl. They are often drunk and drugged with opium or marihuana, yet their eyes seem calm and sober. Besides living by ritual burning areas, Aghoris also live in remote places far from the public: in the cold caves of the Himalaya, in the jungles of Bengal, or in the bare, hot deserts of Gujarat.


They eat nearly anything. And by eating anything, Aghoris try to gain awareness of the oneness of everything and eliminate discrimination. Therefore they consume feces, human urine and even dead human flesh. They live in celibacy, except for one exception: they then have to find a corpse and have sexual intercourse with it. In a rare interview with Davor Rostuhar, Meronath, an Aghori once said: “We do this with one purpose only: to find purity in the filthiest! If an Aghori manages to remain focused on God even during sex with a corpse or while eating a human brain, then he is on the right way.”


Besides these highly uncommon uses, the monks cannot hold any hate in their heart: one who hates cannot meditate. Sharing food with dogs and cows strange to them, rather it is how they eat their meals; together with the animals that frequent cremation grounds, out of the same bowl. Also, the monks do not fear death. That’s why they live on burial grounds and crematories,  rubbing themselves with the ashes of the deceased bodies. Being made from the 5 elements, ash is essential to protect them from diseases or mosquitoes.


For more information, be sure to watch this National Geographic documentary. Because the more unusual they seem to be, the more interesting they usually are…



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Dolf Van Sprengel

chief executive wanderer

Dolf Van Sprengel is born and raised in Antwerp, and loves to travel to discover new cultures. Dolf loves nature and religion, amongst many other things. Since 2017 Dolf is the administrator of WANDERLUSTVLOG.

  1. This story made Indiana Jones and the temple of doom 10x more creepy!! Yet, a great and intressant post! Keep it up😎😘

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