Body-piercing at Panguni Uttiram festival in Tamil Nadu
Chennai, Mar 27, 2013: Thousands of Hindu devotees on Tuesday pierced their bodies with numerous needles and spikes as mark of penance for their wishes to be fulfilled, on the occasion of the unique festival, Panguni Uttiram, observed in Tamil Nadu.
The devotees showed no signs of pain as they converged at the temples dedicated to Lord Muruga in Tamil Nadu on the occasion of Panguni Uthiram, a festival observed ahead of the full moon in spring. They gathered in huge numbers at the Vadapalani Temple in Chennai.
This annual festival is dedicated to the Hindu god Murugan (Karttikeya), son of Lord Shiva. Lord Muruga is believed to be the god of war and victory and much revered by Tamil Hindus.
The ritual of kavadi (a bamboo pole carried by the devotees) is the hallmark of this festival and each kavadi, clad in yellow or ochre clothes, carries milk and flowers on the pole to the temple.
Sundaram, a kavadi devotee, said that he had pierced 108 rods and spikes through his body as an offering to the God to denote his penance and also gratitude for obliging his wishes.
“This is the second time I have taken the kavadi. Last time, I had pierced my body wishing for my ailing father to get well. Since my wish was fulfilled, I have come this year to thank the God by offering penance. There are 108 rods in this, which have pierced through my body,” said Sundaram
At the Vadapalani Andavar Murugan temple in Chennai, thousands of devotees and pilgrims from distant places made a beeline to offer their prayers.
A priest of the Vadapalani temple, Vadyar Durai, told reporters that devotees come here to offer their devotion through different ways.
“On the occasion of festival, the devotees have shown their devotion to Lord Murugan in different ways by offering milk pots, kavadi (holy water brought in container carried over bamboo poles), kavadi flowers, kavadi milk and piercing rod through their bodies. Today, at 7 pm in the evening, the presiding deity would be taken out in a procession after being beautifully decorated,” said Vadyar Durai.
The devotees and pilgrims carrying the kavadis performed the traditional circumambulation of the sanctum sanctorum at the temple with trident like spears pierced in their bodies.
Women devotees carried milk pots on kavadis as offering to Lord Murugan, the presiding deity.
It is believed by the devotees that such offerings to Lord Murugan have yielded remarkable results and thus they continue to come to this temple and surrender themselves to the presiding deity.
According to belief, on the day of Panguni Uthiram day, the marriages of Hindu gods and goddesses, Parvati and Parameshwara and their son Muruga with Devayanai take place.
Devotees consider the concept of piercing the body parts with rods as another mode of paying respects to Lord Muruga.