Hindu believers are celebrating an annual festival in northeastern India with ceremonies offering animal sacrifices to the goddess Durga.

Participants, leading buffaloes, goats and ducks festooned in colorful decorations, lined up before an altar where a butcher hacked off the animals' heads one by one.

The Hindu festival commemorates the slaying of a demon king by the goddess Durga, marking the triumph of good over evil.

Participants in the five-day festival on the outskirts of the northeast city of Gauhati in Assam state believe the sacrifices bring prosperity and good health. But in some parts of India, such as some areas in the east Indian state of Bihar, religious animal sacrifices are banned.