Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Thaipusam in Kuching

The Indian man gingerly unhooked the hooks from a tranced devotee's back, there was not a drop of blood oozing out.

"How come he's not bleeding?" Gregory, my buddy who'd been living in Australia for over 20 years, asked in amazement.

"Dunno," I suggested, "maybe he's in a trance". I looked biting my lip as I tried to take the picture. There was one with a hook so big it could have been used to catch a barracuda or even a shark!

Though the number of Indian population is small, there are at least three Hindu temples in the town, and the one shown here is the Ban Hock Road Temple.

On Thaipusam Day,Hindu devotees carry ornate "kavadi" as their pledge to the gods for granting them their wishes, and each years, scores of devotees carry them along designated routes from the Satok Bridge to the temple here. I was indeed lucky to "bump" into this occation as I was picking up Greg, my old friend and ex-colleague who'd migrated to Australia, and is now visiting Kuching, and staying in the Liwah Hotel, a stone throw from this temple.

Some of the devotees even had ropes tied to their hooks and tethered to a cart laden with pots of milks and other paraphernalia of worship, and pull them with their skin stretched like they'd going to tear away from the body!

Part of the procession entering the courtyard of the temple

Ladies come in drove to give moral support to their kins

Up close with the devotees