KATHIKHEDA (Uttar Pradesh) • A procession of young girls winds through a narrow village with paved streets They sing devotional songs to the Hindu goddess Durga - "To cajole you, we come to your court" - in a pitch high enough to match the ratcheting heat ahead of the searing Indian summer.
It is a sight common across north India during the Chaitra Navratri festival, when Hindu households invite nine young girls representing the nine avatars of Durga and worship them. An important rule: The girls must be pre-pubescent.
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