There is practice of walking in fire in temples by devotees. I have a few questions about that:

  • Which scripture explains Fire Walking (Themithi) practice in temples?
  • Why specifically wood is used and metals are not used?
  • People retained Old tradition of walking on Charcoal lit fire as it is. Mostly burning Charcoal is used because it lasts for long time . This practice is part of a vow for the fulfilment of a wish.And sometimes as Kula-Achar Kula-Dharma also. Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 16:59
  • You see in Villages of Tamilnadu , India mostly also in southern part of India they did something Fire walking (Poomithithal or Theemithithal) as a part of yearly debt giving to God/Goddess with the love and heartful of joy. Woods are the nature giving by the God so they use it. You can see the sculpture in Pariyur temple which is constructed by the king Vallal Pari explained about theemithi thiruvizha.
    – Jagdish
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 10:15
  • The ritual of fire walking is very "precise" described in Agamas, material, mantras, size of the pit etc
    – Akhil
    Commented May 3, 2018 at 17:44

1 Answer 1


Fire walking or Theemithi is a ritual enacted to invoke Goddess Draupadi (main character of Mahabharata and wife of Pandavas).

From the epic Mahabharata:

According to the epic, Draupadi, who was gravely humiliated in a public arena by the Kauravas, vowed to leave her hair untied until her perpetrators were duly punished by her husbands. She combed her hair for the first time in 13 years upon seeing the dead bodies of the members of the Kaurava family.The grand finale of the victory was when Draupadi walked on fire, in a ceremony known as Theemithi, to prove her virtuousness and chastity by her adherence to dharma (the path of righteous living according to the codes of conduct stipulated in the Hindu scriptures). Theemithi, which marks the Pandavas’ victory in the war against the Kauravas, is a re-enactment of the event. In present times, the walking of the pandaram (chief priest) across the fire with the karagam (a sacred, decorated pot), is a symbolic depiction of Draupadi being tested anew following her tribulations. Likewise, it is believed that if her devotees, are as virtuous as her, they will cross the coals unharmed.

I couldn't get exact sanskrit verses mentioning Draupadi's firewalking but I am sure it is mentioned in Mahabharata, from which several historians and authors wrote books on Draupadi.


  1. Hiltebeitel, Alf (1991). The Cult Of Draupadi Mythologies:From Gingee To Kuruksetra. 1. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-1000-6.

  2. Nonviolence in the Mahabharata: Siva’s Summa on Rishidharma and the Gleaners of Kurukshetra. By Alf Hiltebeitel (https://books.google.co.in/books?id=7abOCwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false)

  3. http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_762_2004-12-23.html

  4. http://www.indianmirror.com/culture/indian-folklore/Fire-Walking.html

  5. http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/135538/10/10_chapter%205.pdf

  6. Babb, L. A. (1974). Walking on flowers in Singapore: A Hindu festival cycle. Singapore: Dept. of Sociology, University of Singapore, p. 19. (Call no.: RCLOS 294.538 BAB-[SEA]); Indian Mirror. (2017). Siginificance of fire walking. Retrieved 2017, February 17 from Indian Mirror website: http://www.indianmirror.com/culture/indian-folklore/Fire-Walking.html

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