In Malaysia, Thaipusam is a Hindu Festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community. Every year, devotees gather at the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur to honor Lord Murugan, the destroyer of evil.
Many devotees carry silver urns of fresh milk on their head and walk to the caves in thanks for any children born that year. Devotees who have committed misdeeds or feel unworthy of God carry “kavadis,” large decorated shrines that are supported around the bearer’s waist. Many of these kavidis weigh upwards from 100-150 lbs and have to be manhandled up the temple steps. Kavadi-bearers fast for 48 days in advance, eating only sattvic food once a day, and enter into a trance-like state before making the short pilgrimage. This penance also involves passing small spears through their tongues and cheeks, a practice believed to give great power of endurance. Other body piercings performed include metal hooks with limes, oranges, or small urns.
Lucas Veuve is a photographer based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.