Temple Hair

Did you know that in India there is a ritual called Tonsuring? Which is a shaving off of all of your hair. Which is a gesture of devotion and gratitude to the gods. This happens in a place called Tirumala, a temple of the Vaishnava sect of Hinduism above the town of Tirupati. The men and women that participate in this ritual are religious pilgrims coming here to pay their respect to the resident deity. The visit is completed with the ritual Tonsuring or shaving off all of ones hair. This is a custom that has been practiced since the ninth century. But, what is a new practice, in the twenty first century is the selling of the hair, which the particpants are not aware of. But, when told that the hair is being sold around the world most of the pilgrims seem to be honored that the hair of India is appreciated by the world and very happy with there gift offered to there beloved deity. Most of the participants do not know that the hair is being sold. Now, the question I ask. Should they know? Would it matter? Should they get to profit from there gift? The pilgrims believe that they are thanking there gods, for there good fortune. Are there dreams coming True?

I would love to here what you think.


For more Allure (March 2009)



  1. I think that if these people are shaving their heads as a ritual sacrifice, then they shouldn't share in the profits of their hair being sold. I would hope that the profits all go towards the temple and local community. I do believe that their prayers are still heard by their gods & goddesses, whether or not the hair is sold - the hair itself isn't as important as the act of sacrificing it by shaving it off. And if it can help the community, why shouldn't they sell it?