Thaipusam Hindu Kavadi Makers


The Hindu Thaipusam festival is an astonishing event to witness in Penang, Malaysia.  In honor of their god Murugan, Hindus create huge & colorful kavadi or burdens that devotees then carry several kilometers to Murugan's temple.  Many of the pilgrims allow themselves to have many body piercings--even with large skewers piercing their cheeks and the tips of their tongues.  A few weeks ago I had opportunity to participate in Matt Brandon & Gavin Gough's Thaipusam Workshop.  There I embedded myself with Penang's ace team of kavadi builders for three days--seeing them work & then closely following their devotee-friend who carried this year's most colorful kavadi over a seven-kilometer course to Murugan's waterfall temple.  This is their story.