Piercing, a form of devotion

May 11, 2010

Scores of people in Indian state of Karnataka participated in a procession to honour the Hindu goddess Maha Mariamman by piercing their bodies with iron nails.

Devotees worship the goddess and seek her blessings by piercing various parts of their bodies, such as their tongues, backs, chests and cheeks, at the Mattu Mariamman temple. Many childless devotees pierce their bodies in the belief that the goddess would grant them children.

Some devotees go as far as putting tridents in their mouths or hanging iron hooks from their backs as a method of worshipping Mattu Mariamman.

Devotees even hang heavy weights from their bodies in the belief that their wishes would be fulfilled.