Fasting on festivals and other days of religious significance is not new to Indians. On certain occasions like thread ceremony, marriage or death in the family, an Indian shaves (tonsures) his head. This is even done while visiting an important shrine normally in fulfillment of a boon e.g. at the Tirupati shrine in Southern India. It may even surprise us to see people walking over hot coals, puncturing cheeks, ears and tongue, etc. That could be the origin of such strange practices which are a part of worship. Many take recourse to fasting in their pursuit of self-realization. Whether used as a means to overcome bodily desire and develop self-control or as an instrument to transcend body and accentuate spirit, there are few practices more popular than fasting. Upavāsa is another name for fasting. Upa means near and vāsa mean to stay. So we can take it that it takes us to the proximity of God. Fasting in Hinduism indicates the denial of the physical needs of the body for the sake of spiritual gains. According to the scriptures, fasting helps create an attunement with the Absolute by establishing a harmonious relationship between the body and the soul.