Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thaipusam 2010

According to the Wikipedia, “Thaipusam is a major Hindu religious festival that is only celebrated in Singapore and Malaysia, since it was banned in India. As part of a penance to Lord Murugan, participants carry 'kavadis' along a processional route. Some of the adult male participants carry kavadis that are attached to their bodies via metal hooks and small spears that pierce their skin. This annual festival is the only time in contemporary Singapore when major roads in the city, including the parts of the prime Orchard Road area, are closed for a religious procession. The procession starts at the Sri Srinivasa Permal Temple in Serangoon Road, and winds through Orchard Road and Penang Road before ending at the Sri Thandayuthapani Temple at Tank Road, off Clemenceau Avenue. The festival is a major religious and urban event, which draws large numbers of participants, devotees, supportive family and friends as well as curious onlookers, photography enthusiasts and tourists.”
I’m a member of ANZA Click – a photography group linked to ANZA in Singapore. The group were meeting at the starting temple on Serangoon Road at 1pm to shoot the festival from there. As I was in Jurong for the morning (see previous post) I wasn’t able to meet up with the group, so I decided to go much later in the day and get some shots of the dismantling of the Kavadi’s at the Tank Road temple. Below are the pics…
Hindu devotee at Thaipusam in Singapore

This next guy was particularly striking – he also left in the tongue piercing until the end:
Thaipusam 2010   Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010   Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010
This next guy was very young looking – his eyes may be closed in the shot, but he showed no signs of pain when he was having his spears removed:
Young guy having his cheek piercing removed at Thaipusam 2010 in Singapore
Even the young guys carrying the ash were pierced in many ways:
Young ash-bearer's pierced arm at Thaipusam 2010 in Singapore
Many of the men are pierced in multiple places – the face seemed to be mainly limited to the cheeks, tongue and eyebrows:
Thaipusam 2010
This guy, like most of them, seemed to bear no pain when having the piercings removed:
Thaipusam 2010
This fellow was smiling and chatting even around his piercings:
Thaipusam 2010   Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010
Many of the devotees used braces around their waists to help bear the weight of the massive Kavadis. This next guy was full-on hardcore, though – his kavadi was supported by spikes through his flesh at waist height:
Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010
He was also the only guy I actually saw any blood on, albeit a tiny amount:
Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010
After such a long walk, in the Singapore heat, carrying all that weight, most of the walkers were exhausted:
Thaipusam 2010Thaipusam 2010
And a little dehydrated:
Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010   Thaipusam 2010
And here’s one guy after being his kavadi has been fully removed:
Thaipusam 2010
and a few “people” shots:
Thaipusam 2010
Thaipusam 2010   Young indian girl at Thaipusam 2010 in Singapore
It’s a really fascinating festival, and makes for some interesting photographs.

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