Hindu devotees put on wince-inducing displays of devotion as they take part in the Thaipusam festival.

Paticipants, largely drawn from the Tamil community, pray and fast before taking part in a procession. Along the way, they engage in devotional acts such as piercing their tongues, cheeks and skin with skewers and barbs. The painful ritual is performed to request help from the Hindu god Murugan.

The event is held on the day of the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February).

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A Malaysian Hindu devotee with his cheeks pierced with a skewer waits to perform a pilgrimage to the sacred Batu Caves temple during the Thaipusam festival in which devotees subject themselves to painful rituals in a demonstration of faith and penanceReuters
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A Hindu devotee has his back pierced with hooks and weighed down with limes before starting his pilgrimage to the sacred Batu Caves temple during the Thaipusam festival in MalaysiaReuters
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A devotee has his tongue pierced during Thaipusam festival in SingaporeReuters
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A Hindu devotee prays near a river, before a pilgrimage to the sacred Batu Caves TempleReuters
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Devotees are pictured into the sacred Batu Caves Temple during last year's Thaipusam festivalReuters
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Tourists take photos of a devotee pulling a chariot with hooks pierced into his back during the Thaipusam festival in SingaporeReuters
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A devotee who had his back pierced prepares to carry a milk jug during Thaipusam festival in SingaporeReuters
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Devotees carry milk jugs during Thaipusam festival in SingaporeReuters
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A Malaysian Hindu devotee has his cheeks pierced with a skewer in a demonstration of faithReuters
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A man pours milk over his body before visiting the Batu Caves TempleReuters
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Hindu devotees have their backs pierced and hooked with limes before their pilgrimage to the Batu Caves TempleReuters
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A Hindu devotee, his face painted blue, prepares to embark on a pilgrimage to Batu Caves Temple in MalaysiaReuters