The festival of Gajan is celebrated mostly in the state of West Bengal in eastern India, and coincides with the Bengali New Year.

Devotees offer sacrifices and perform acts of devotion during the festival in the hopes of winning the favour of the Hindu god Shiva. The central theme of this festival is deriving satisfaction through pain, such as piercing, running over hot coals or lying on a bed of nails.

IBTimes UK presents photos of this year's Gajan festival.

Gajan Hindu festival
The arm of a devotee is pierced with nails as he is crucified in Batanal village (Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)