I thought I'd ask this guy perched on top of a truck what exactly was going on. Language was a bit of a problem so after fumbling for words, I just asked "Bhagwan?" (as in which God?), and he gestured with his hands to make an infant and said "Ganesh ka.." - so I assumed "brother of Ganesh". Then I asked him "Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayali?" (yes, yes - make fun of my ignorance) and he answered "Tamil..Wadala".
Googling on "Tamil procession body piercing" seems to indicate that this is the festival of Thaipusam, commemorating the birthday of Lord Murugan. However, other blogs (like this, this and this) say that this has already been celebrated in Feb. Um..could someone please help me here?
Here are six of the thirteen photos I clicked. You'll figure why I didn't upload the others.
Warning - you could find some photos disturbing.
I haven't seen anything like this. These men are hung by a rope - through hooks pierced in their bodies.
And no, these men were not in pain. At least they didn't show it. Here's another snap.
Yes, all those thin rods are pinned to his body. The stool in that white-shirted guy in the background is so that the devouts can sit, if they want. Thank God for tender mercies.
And this my snap of the day. Those women are feeding milk to that child who, as you can see, is pierced through his mouth. No, he wasn't crying.
And if you thought only the men participated, have a look at the women.
Phew..that was something. Religious fervour (or body piercing?) Bombay style. Again - could someone please let me know if this is not Thaipusam, and if not, then what exactly is it?