A viral video of a snake coiled around an ancient idol in a Maharashtra village led to long queues of believers to witness the spectacle, which turned out to be an elaborate hoax played by some locals.
The video of a cobra "guarding" an idol unearthed during digging work at Kanherwadi in Beed district yesterday, went viral on social media, prompting a surge of devotees who claimed the idol was that of Shiva.
Overnight, tents and pandals came up at the otherwise desolate place, with some selling incense sticks, flowers, puja material and other knick-knacks.
Somebody set up a loudspeaker system from which devotional songs blared.
A "kirtan" (religious discourse) was organised at the venue, which drew hundreds to the spot.
The idol, which a local archaeology expert said was that of the Sun god and not of Lord Shiva, was soon adorned with garlands offered by devotees, while others were delirious that "god" had chosen their village as his abode.
A villager was seen recounting to TV channel crew gathered at the spot how he saw the cobra striking the earth excavator machine which had dug up the idol.
Today, the game was up as TV channels aired another video, of a villager diligently placing the cobra near the idol, shattering the myth of the snake "guarding" the idol.
The whole scene, around 450 km from Mumbai, reminded one of the 2011 Marathi film Deool starring Nana Patekar which was a satirical journey of villagers' belief in religion and the blind faith that accompanies it.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)