Hindus celebrate Thaipusam festival with elaborate piercings
To honour a fabled exchange between Murugan and Parvati, the Hindu god's of war and love, devotees go to extreme lengths to show their devotion during the Thaipusam festival.
Warning, some of these images are graphic
Thomson Reuters ·
Devotees honour their god of war
The Thaipusam festival is held in honour of the Hindu war god Murugan, who is fabled to have vanquished evil with a spear given to him by Parvati, the goddess of love.
Observed mainly in Tamil communities throughout the Hindu diaspora, the festival is marked by a procession of devotees famed for their ceremonial piercings.
Participants also carry pots of milk …
And other ceremonial burdens
A cleansing ritual is held
Devotees prepare for the festival by cleansing themselves through prayer, fasting and smoke. On the day of Thaipusam, participants have their heads shaved before setting off on a short pilgrimage along a set route.
The pilgrim route in Kuala Lumpur ends at the Batu Caves
The Batu Caves, in Malaysia, is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India. The temple is dedicated to Murugan and is a popular place to celebrate Thaipusam.