An Indian couple have reportedly died by suicide after using a homemade guillotine to sever their own heads in a sacrificial ritual, police have said.

Vinchhiya Police added Hemubhai Makwana, 38, said to be a farmer, and his wife Hansaben, 35, apparently used the makeshift device in their farm hut sometime between Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

"The couple first prepared a fire altar before putting their heads under a guillotine-like mechanism held by a rope," Vinchiya police sub-inspector Indrajitsinh Jadeja told the Hindustan Times.

He added: "It is believed they pulled up the blades of the guillotine themselves and released it in such a manner, that their heads fell into a havan kund".

A havan kund is a traditional fire pit sometimes used in a ritual during which offerings are made to please the gods.

A note was said to be found nearby, asking their parents to look after their children, aged 12 and 13, who found their torsos after returning home.

The note also said their deaths were suicide, and nobody else was involved, the Times of India said.

The paper added the children had been sent to live with their maternal uncle.

Mr Jadeja said the couple had been praying to the god Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, every day for the last year in a shrine they built on their property.

Enquiries are underway to determine if the beheadings were part of a "black magic" ritual, but Mr Jadeja said he was ruling nothing out.

© Sky News 2023