>Travel Pictures


Mariamann Festival

Every day in India, you will see something that you’ve never seen before. That has been an article of faith during our time here, and today was absolutely no exception.
I was taking the kids shopping, spending some birthday money gift certificates and such, when we passed a big truck decorated in honor of Sai Baba just around the corner from our home. Being a big Sai Baba fan, I called Susan and asked her to go down and take some pictures.

About an hour later, I got a frantic phone call from her, telling me absolutely not to take the kids back there. As I hadn’t planned on doing so anyway, I wasn’t sure what the big deal was. Only when we made it back home did I understand why she was concerned they not go.

Apparently there is a festival going on dedicated to the goddess Mariamman – at least that is the best I can figure out – wherein piercing and pain are supposed to bring the devotee closer to god. People would have priests poke holes in their cheeks and push through a 10 foot pole. Susan was a trooper and took pictures, even though she said she was getting physically ill watching the goings-on.

Things started out fine, with typical offerings and drumbeats - nothing too out of the ordinary in everyday India.
But then, she saw something astounding - people walking around with huge metal poles stuck through their cheeks!!

It turns out that there was a festival going on which involves piercing both cheeks and poking this big pole through it! 

These are little kids getting their faces pierced!

While there wasn't blood or gore - aloe was applied immediately and liberally to stem the bleeding - it was still an amazing sight.

Here, the priest is actually pushing the pole through the lady's mouth, while another helper holds her head steady.

Aloe is applied to staunch the bleeding (and the pain, I guess).
(Close up of the previous picture)

She doesn't seem to be responding too well - there seems to be a bit of a hurt going on.

After she is finished, she is guided to a place to sit and receives offerings and prayers from other worshippers.

The final step for the guy on the right's process was a garland around the neck, and then he is off to reflect and meditate.

Here's a man in bright pink pants, stoically dealing with his face.
Two young men dealing with the aftereffects, and another woman, who was being attended to by her mother.
Two more views of the same people - try to imagine that big metal rod stuck through your mouth!

Here's the last entry in another series of unbelieveable, Incredible India sights around town. Never a dull moment.

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