JODHPUR, India (CBS) -- Women disguised as Hindu gods beat men in northwestern India with sticks, who believe that they would get married soon after being thrashed.
The ritual is observed as part of the 'Dhinga Ganwar' festival, which was celebrated in Jodhpur city of India's northwestern Rajasthan state with fervor and devotion on Sunday (April 28).
The heritage behind the festival comes from the mythical legend of "Gan" or Lord Shiva and "Gaur" or Gauri, his consort Goddess Parvati.
According to legend, after a widow's wish to worship Goddess Gangaur was turned down Lord Shiva appeared in her dreams, asking her to pray to Goddess Ganwar, his second wife, instead.
Women disguise themselves and roam on the streets freely and beat the men and boys who come in their way with sticks.
The men sporting take the beating as they have vested interest.
Most of the women in the procession carried nicely decorated sticks with which they tap the bachelors to mark the 'beating' so that these unmarried men would find their matches.
"I have heard that if we are beaten by sticks here, then the person gets married soon after. So, I have deliberately tried to get beaten as much as possible so that I get a nice girl and get married by next year," said Abhishek Kumar, a devotee.
The festival of 'Ganwar', is for both the married and the unmarried women and is always celebrated after the ascendance of darkness.
Women dress up as Hindu gods like Shiva, Krishna and monkey god Hanuman. The reason for them dressing up as male gods is to send out a message of their being equal to men and spread awareness about women empowerment.
"We are women for all the 12 months but this one day is our day and we can dress up as Hindu gods today," said Kamini Singh, a devotee disguised as Lord Krishna.
During the festival, women apply mehendi (Henna) on their hands and feet. The unmarried girls spend the evening carrying earthen pots with a number of holes all around, on their heads with a lamp burning inside them and sing songs.
Roaming on the streets, they collect small presents in the form of cash, sweets, jiggery, and oil.