Hundreds flock to Nepal shrine for "sweating" idol

KATHMANDU Mon May 21, 2007 8:33am EDT

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KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Hundreds of people have flocked to a remote village in eastern Nepal to see a "sweating" idol of a Hindu god, a sign of impending turmoil or natural disaster for the devoutly religious nation.

Witnesses said that sweat seeped out of the idol of the Bhimeshwor god at a temple in Dolakha, a few hours drive from Kathmandu, during evening prayers at the weekend.

"I saw the right side of the black stone idol had become wet because of sweating," said Shanta Krishna Shrestha, chairman of a committee responsible for maintaining the temple.

"This denotes something like major political change or a natural calamity," said Shrestha.

"We must hold special prayers and make sacrifices asking for forgiveness."

Sacrificing animals such as goats or roosters to appease gods is common among Hindus in Nepal.

Sweating was seen on the idol in 2001, media reported, months before a palace massacre when King Birendra and eight other members of the royal family were shot dead in a drug-and-drink fuelled shooting spree by the then crown prince, who later turned the gun on himself.

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