The custom was largely prevalent in Mahasu and Kulu regions and seems
to have its earliest roots in human sacrifice performed every twelve years.
The last Bhoonda (at Vibhai in the Sutlej valley) is said to have
been performed in the following manner
A man belonging to the Beda community was chosen for
the ceremony, a few days prior to it. For three months he was housed in
the village temple with great respect. During this period, he wove a rope
with grass-measuring some four to five hundred Hath (a Hath is the length
between the elbow and the tip of the middle finger of a mature human arm).
On the fixed day a procession of the gods was brought out ceremoniously.
The Beda led this procession holding aloft an umbrella made of blue cloth,
and supported on each side by his two wives. He wore only one article
of clothing and a red thread around his neck. As the precession reached
the spot where the Bhoonda was to be performed one end of the grass rope
was tied to the pillar on the top of the hill and the other to another
pillar, at the bottom of the same hill. The procession then took the Beda
into the temple and sacrifices a goat. In the temple the Beda was offered
to the gods and then the procession returned to the spot where the Bhoonda
was to be performed. Here on the top of the hill a woolen seat was laid
on the rope with bags of sand suspended on both sides to keep it balanced.
The Bhoonda was seated on that and at a signal from the priest he was
pushed down hill. The seat flew down with the Beda. His survival depended
purely on chance. If the Beda survives he is paid a sum of some 80/- to
90/- rupees from the temple fund. The observers also give him money. The
last Bhoonda took place in 1902 at a village near Nirat. The custom is
nearly obsolete now.