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Anxious Country Prays to Placate 'Sweating' Deity
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Jun 23, 11:22 am ET

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Priests offered special prayers as hundreds of devotees thronged a shrine in a remote Nepali village on Wednesday to appease a Hindu deity after its stone idol began "sweating," witnesses said.

"Sweating" of the deity at the temple in Dolakha, 140 km (90 miles) east of the capital, has in the past been followed by major political changes or tragedies in the world's only Hindu kingdom, villagers say.

"The prayers are to spare the country and the people from disasters or calamities," devotee Dambar Bahadur Shrestha told Reuters when reached by telephone.

The special prayers were offered after devotees saw a vaporous substance on the stone idol of the god Bhimeshwor, revered as Lord Shiva, third in the trinity of Hindu gods. Goats were also sacrificed as part of the prayers.

Nepali newspapers said the last time the Lord Bhimeshwor idol "sweated" was in January 2001, six months before Crown Prince Dipendra shot dead his father, King Birendra, and eight other royals before turning the gun on himself in a drunken rage.

The Himalayan country, which is also battling a bloody Maoist revolt, has since been mired in political turmoil.

The deity also reportedly sweated in 1932 before an earthquake killed thousands of people.

Articles From Reuters

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