In chapter 17 of Dan Brown's Origin, he mentions something called the Grishneshwar Temple Drop.

... the slideshow concluded with a deeply unsettling video of an Indian cleric dangling a tiny infant over the edge of a fifty-foot tower. Suddenly the cleric let go, and the child plummeted fifty feet, straight down into an outstretched blanket, which joyful villagers held like a fireman's net.
The Grishneshwar Temple Drop, Langdon thought, recalling that it was believed by some to bring God's favor to a child.

What is this ritual? I cannot find any reference to this online.

1 Answer 1


The practice exists, but elsewhere:

  • Horrific baby-throwing ritual in India where toddlers are tossed from roof for good luck - The Daily Mail, August 6, 2009.

    These horrific pictures show terrified toddlers being thrown from a roof before plummeting 15metres onto a bedsheet below.

    15 meters is about 50 feet.

    This particular ritual took place in the village of Harangal, Parbhani, in western India's Maharashtra.

    Another ritual was taking place on the same day in Sholapur, about 280 miles south of Mumbai.

  • For Babies in India, a 30-Foot Plunge for Good Luck - The New York Times, July 28, 2016.

    Legend has it that a saint advised people whose babies were dying to build a shrine and drop the ailing infants from the roof to show their trust in the almighty. When they did so, the story goes, the babies were miraculously cradled to safety in a hammock-like sheet that appeared in midair.

    From then on, prayers for the birth of a healthy baby in the region have included a promise to toss the baby as an offering to the god who granted the prayers. Villagers believe that the ritual brings the child long life and good luck, and maintain that it does no harm.

    [...] witnesses say it continues on a small scale in some villages, including in Mangasuli, where the Lord Khandoba, an avatar of Shiva, is worshiped by Hindus as the deity of the family.

The Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga temple is a relatively famous Shiva temple. But it's about three hundred kilometers from Solapur. Even though both are in the same state of Maharashtra, I don't know what possessed Brown to mix the two up.

  • 1
    I wouldn't trust anything the Daily Mail says ;-) The NYT quote seems much more informative and reliable.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 7, 2017 at 18:54
  • @Randal'Thor it's not called the Daily Fail/Heil for nothing. But the 15m quote was interesting, too close to Brown's figure to pass up.
    – muru
    Oct 7, 2017 at 18:57
  • If it doesn’t happen at Grishneshwar, Brown isn’t the first person to make the mistake. m.facebook.com/sacredthemovie/posts/169852213202708
    – Spagirl
    Oct 8, 2017 at 8:38
  • 1
    @Spagirl ah. Guess we know what Brown watches in his "research" time now.
    – muru
    Oct 8, 2017 at 9:23
  • 1
    An interesting blog on the subject nitawriter.wordpress.com/2009/08/24/…
    – Spagirl
    Oct 8, 2017 at 21:38

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