SINGAPORE - For three hours on Tuesday morning, devotee Theneshvaran K. Maran walked with 108 spikes pierced into his body, which held up a wood-and-metal structure two-thirds his weight.
Seven years ago, doctors had told him he might never walk again after he dislocated his left knee cap. He prayed, vowing to carry a kavadi every year for the rest of his life if he recovered. And by the end of that year, he did.
He was finally able to carry his first kavadi on Tuesday, after saving enough for the $3,500 structure, which weighed almost 80kg.
"The pain (from the spikes) is there but I just prayed the whole way," the 27-year-old safety and security officer said.
"My family was with me, singing and enjoying themselves and they made the journey smoother for me."
He was one of 280 Hindus who carried kavadis to mark Thaipusam, which celebrates the deity Lord Murugan.
They were joined by 10,000 others carrying pots of milk as offerings who also made the trek from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple on Serangoon Road to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple on Tank Road.
The procession started at 12.05am on Tuesday and will end at 11.45pm the same day.
At the Serangoon Road temple, Devotees thronged the newly-constructed $8 million P. Govindasamy Pillai hall, named after one of the temple's donors. The function hall, completed at the end of 2014, can seat 550 people. Makeshift and temporary building structures have been removed, resulting in more space in the temple grounds.
Deputy Prime Minister And Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean visited both temples in the morning.