Shocking Rituals From The Cannibal Indian Aghori Monks

Last Updated on

Rituals From The Cannibal Indian Aghoris Monks That Will Shock You

Yes, you read the title right, Indian cannibals.  On my holiday to India, I visited one of the most spiritual places in the world, Varanasi.  Every inch of this city jolts you, from the burning bodies to the starving people and the half-dead animals crying for help, but when I heard about the cannablist rituals of the Indian Aghori monks, I was in shock.

As the title suggests, the Aghori rituals can be quite shocking. While this post is not incredibly graphic, it does include details about cannibalism amongst the Aghoris in India. Please continue reading at your own discretion.


Shocking Rituals From The Cannibal Indian Aghori Monks

The Story of the Aghori Monks 

When I first heard about the cannibal Aghori monks it was a very hot Indian day (as always), and I was walking around the markets in Varanasi.  I decided to duck into a jewellery shop, not because I was really interested in it, but because of the golden masterpiece on the wall – the air-conditioner.  Inside, an Indian man asked me where I was from.  I didn’t reply for a few seconds because this was a common line for most Indian men trying to start a conversation that I just couldn’t be bothered starting.  But for some reason, I answered.  He explained that he was from Kerala (South India) and was travelling with his Dutch friend who has been to India over 6 times.  He explained that nothing seems to faze her anymore. But he was absolutely petrified as Kerala is a different world away from Varanasi. 

It couldn’t have come at a better time to meet them. I was at the point of getting verbally aggressive towards shopkeepers for asking me so many damn questions all the time.  She taught me that I needed to be calm and take everything as a joke, laugh, and be cheeky.  Don’t take anything seriously in this country.  Her advice was true and is pretty much how I stayed sane the entire trip!

Fast forward – I walked around the city with them and met a pot-smoking Sadhu (holy person) who hadn’t eaten in 5 days and told me my future (that’s another story!).  After that, we then decided that we should hop on a boat and watch the sunset before the famous ceremony of light on the edge of the Ganges.  While the guy was rowing, someone asked where does the bridge lead over in the distance.  He looked like he had just seen a ghost and told us never to go over there.  Of course, we asked why and he told us the story of the Aghori Monks.

The Aghoris in India are infamous with the locals because they apparently cast black magic if the locals go near them.  Most human beings run away from death because we are afraid of dying or seeing people dead.  But these monks are not, in fact, they live off the dead.  They welcome death into their lives like I welcome chocolate into mine.  A person has to die before a new person can come into this world.  But as we asked this guy more about what they do, the more my jaw dropped. I certainly didn’t expect to be learning about cannibalism in India during a peaceful boat ride!


Shocking Rituals From The Cannibal Indian Aghori Monks

The Ganges play an important part of the Aghori monks’ lifestyle

The Most Important Aghori Ritual

Perhaps the most important of the Aghori rituals is Shav Putra, an incredibly private ceremony.  In order to complete it, they must find human corpses.  These are hard to find in Varanasi as nearly everyone is cremated.  Some families in Varanasi, cannot afford to be cremated so instead they will put the bodies in the Ganges. 

So, the Aghori monks literally ‘fish’ them out.  When they find a body they meditate on it, chop the head off (because it holds the most energy) and then some Aghoris eat the flesh. This is why the Aghori tribe are known as the Indian cannibals.

They believe that they can’t please God if they don’t do this human sacrifice.  They keep the skull of the corpse as a reminder of the impermanence of life.  They believe that all their acts and rituals, including cannibalism, are done in pursuit of spiritual liberation.

The Aghoris have their own lifestyle and beliefs that are seen as evil and taboo amongst Hindus.  Th is why most of the locals stay right away from them.  They are believed to have no fear and to digest all evil!


Shocking Rituals From The Cannibal Indian Aghori Monks

Other Aghori Rituals and Practices

Other daily Aghori rituals include drinking urine and eating stools in their food.  They are also known to consume a lot of alcohol and marijuana.  One of the most important and chilling daily rituals that the Aghori do is smothering their face in human ash. They call it ‘holy ash.’

The Aghoris are shunned out of the local society because of their ‘black magic’ and cannibalism so you may be hard-pressed to find them anywhere in India (that’s if you do want to find them).  If you want to know more about the Aghori monks and the Aghori lifestyle then watch this YouTube video from a bunch of photographers that went to photograph them, it’s pretty amazing.

I couldn’t believe that these Aghori rituals still existed in the modern day, but I should have known better; India is full of surprises!  I will never forget that chilling moment on the boat when our guide told us about the Aghori tribe. I had no idea there were Indian cannibals! It’s stories like these that make me think travelling is the best form of education.

Have you heard of the Aghori tribe? Did you know there were people who practiced cannibalism in India? Would you be scared to meet an Aghori monk?


Other articles you will love:



Love this article?  Share it with your friends!

Shocking Rituals From The Cannibal Indian Aghori Monks

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Fiona Maclean
    October 30, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Wow, that is something. I don’t think I’d want to go in search of the aghoris monks – just a bit too macabre for me

  • Reply
    October 30, 2016 at 11:17 am

    That is quite a story about the Aghori Monks, creepy but interesting at the same time! They have some pretty disgusting rituals too. I always wonder how do people could even think about drinking urine and eating stools in their food. Yuck!!!! Have to say your post is a real eye opener about different cultures.

  • Reply
    Gokul Raj
    October 30, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    Ohh yea I have heard about this. This is true. Only thing I like about them is that they smoke joints all the time. You can even find videos in youtube of their horrific rituals which are really graphic.

  • Reply
    October 31, 2016 at 12:42 am

    Wow. This had me speechless. That is certainly interesting to say the least. I want to meet them but I still love my life so I’m content to read about them instead. Truly India holds so many secrets like these. One thing I wonder about though, is if they don’t get sick from all those things they’re eating (corpse, shit and piss). Great article!

  • Reply
    Laura Lynch
    October 31, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Wow, those are some pretty unusual rituals. I’m not sure I could get on board with the drinking of urine. What could be the benefit of that?

  • Reply
    Jenna Kvidt
    October 31, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Oh wow–I’ve never heard of the Aghoris. Definitely shocking and quite the story! It’s always interesting to learn about other cultures and some of the things they do, but I think I’d be up for keeping my distance from them, too!!

  • Reply
    Mar Pages
    October 31, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    This is so interesting..I thought I’d read the title wrong when I saw the word cannibals, I thought cannibalisitic tribes are part of an ancient past but now know it still exists in India!

  • Reply
    October 31, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    It must have been such a sensory overload to wander around Varanasi. This was a fascinating read, as I knew nothing about the Aghoris before this post. It must have also been quite an experience to get your future told to you by someone who hasn’t eaten in five days!

  • Reply
    Neha Verma
    November 1, 2016 at 1:08 am

    As Indians, especially north Indian, we have heard these Aghori stories. Never came across one (and I don’t wish to 🙂 ) Cannibalism repels me, whatever be their reason for it. But yes, completely agree that India is full of surprises and would never cease to fascinate people across the world

  • Reply
    Alexander Alexanderov
    November 2, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Thank you for very nice trip, and good information i never expected, would like to go and visit these places,

  • Reply
    November 3, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    This post was absolutely fascinating. I saw the word cannibal but I though maybe this was something that took place in the past. Wow.

  • Reply
    Saurabh Sharma
    November 4, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Some rituals are really eye openers about aghoris as i am from India, but never heard of drinking urine and eating stool. What scared me more is their dressing and ash covered face.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    I thought Cannibals doesn’t exist now and reading this makes me grassy. Great information!

  • Reply
    Mayuri Nidigallu
    June 8, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    I have read about Aghori Sadhus. I believe they also scoop out the heart from a corpse, and eat that! I have never heard of then drinking Urine and eating Stools though.
    This was an interesting read. I will be looking up your post once again, when I plan a trip to Varanasi. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Holy moly! This sounds so exciting.. creepy, but exciting! Something my husband would probably love to go and see. He’s up for anything that involves risking his life unfortunately. Lol.
    Great post! 🙂 Such a unique experience. Especially with the dope smoking fortune teller!

  • Leave a Reply