Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh has a very prominent and well-known temple “Tarkulha Devi temple”. This temple is well known for its association with the independence of India and the Prasad they offer currently to the Goddess. On the month of January during Chaitra Ram Navami this place becomes overcrowded since a Khichari Mela is organized. Goat is sacrificed to the Deity and mutton is cooked in earthen vessels and served as prasad.
It is believed that during the uprising of 1857 against Britishers, freedom fighters used to offer the dead enemies to the Goddess. It is associated with Shaheed Bandhu Singh, who was a freedom fighter and was well known as a great believer and worshipper of Tarkulha Devi. He used to reside in the deep forests and pray the Goddess under a tree. The most interesting part about him was that he used to offer the head of all those Britishers he used to kill to Tarkulha Devi. It is said that since he was a very dedicated devotee of Goddess Tarkulha, he had witnessed many miracles. At the time he was captured by the Britishers and sentenced to death by hanging (12th August, 1857), the rope broke almost 6 times. The executioner (Jallad) started pleading Bandhu, that he would be killed if the great Bandhu Singh was not hanged. This made Bandhu Singh pray to Goddess Tarkulha to allow the executioner to hang him. After this incident, this place became very famous and lakhs of devotees came from all over the country to express their problems.
Many people come over to this place and vow (do a mannat) in front of God. When their wishes get fulfilled they tie the divine bells in the temple and cut the head of a goat to offer the meat. After that, the Sevayats cook the meat in earthen vessels and offer the devotees to consume them as Prasad.
In the earlier times there were many temples in India where such Prasad was offered but with increasing time these rituals started diminishing. Currently, people are also raising questions on the rituals followed here and a case is already put up in the court against the temple.