If you could would you donate 18 inches of your own hair to children with cancer?
Hindu pilgrims have donated their hair at holy temples throughout Southern India for centuries in an attempt to purify themselves and repay debt to their gods.
As legend has it, Vishnu — an avatar of God and the Preserver of the World — took out a loan in order to pay for his wedding. But Vishnu’s loan was so large that it would take him thousands of years to pay off his debt. Now many devout Hindus help pay off Vishnu’s debt by offering the only thing they have: their hair.
Known most commonly as “temple hair,” these real human-hair extensions are available in many salons in Europe and the U.S., where they cost about $5,000 each time they are put in. Despite the high price, many have opted to use these extensions since real extensions look and feel better than synthetic hair.
Though most extensions made from actual human hair comes from China, Indian hair is more valuable since it is “naturally silkier and has never been treated with artificial dyes.” In many cases, the hair has never been subjected to anything more abrasive than coconut oil and herbal soap, and has sometimes never been cut before.
But what’s particularly upsetting to many is that the temples reap millions of dollars in profit from the pilgrims religious sacrifice, while the donors, many of whom are poor, never see so much as one cent for their hair
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