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An ethnic Tamil man carries a kadavi (portable shrine) along a pilgrimage trail during the annual Thaipusam festival of penance and thanksgiving.  He has a skewer through his tongue, a form of mortification of the flesh undertaken after a long fasting and prayer.  The Tamil Hindu festival commemorates the birth of Hindu Lord Murugan and his triumph over evil. Pilgrims engage in various acts of devotion such as carrying burdens, flagellation and body piercing as they take part in a 15-kilometre procession to the Batu Caves. .