Photo by Arwen Joyce
Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple
Thaipusam is a festival celebrated by the Tamil community in Singapore each year in January or February. In 2011 I was invited by a friend to observe this man's preparations at a Hindu temple in Little India. After all of these little gold weights on sharp hooks were inserted into his skin, he joined other pilgrims in walking barefoot to another temple three miles away to show their devotion. The hardest part to watch was when they pierced his tongue and cheeks with the final gold plates. The man, who has been doing this for many years, didn't flinch and appeared to be in a calm, meditative state the entire time. If you don't want to go into a temple to observe the Thaipasum preparations (they won't mind), you can watch the early morning parades through the streets of Little India.
By Arwen Joyce, AFAR Local Expert
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347 Serangoon Rd, Singapore