The bizarre Thaipusam Festival at Nadi’s Sri Siva Subrahmanya Swami Temple calls together thousands of Hindu worshippers to celebrate the birthday of Subrahmanya, or Lord Murugan, the god of war worshipped amongst South Indians. During the ten-day festival held over the full moon between January and February, devotees arrive at the temple to pray and cleanse their spirits. Some prove their faith with multiple body piercings on the chest, arms, face and tongue while others drag chariots, or kavadris, attached by sharpened meat hooks to their backs. It’s a fascinating and highly photogenic festival and you’ll be offered free food and invited to join in the celebrations, which are accompanied by dancing musicians. Be sure to observe common courtesies such as removing shoes before entering the temple grounds and not attending if you have recently drunk alcohol.

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