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Ethnic Tamil pilgrims perform ritual washing and prayer in a river close to the Batu Caves in preparation for the annual Tamil Hindu Thaipusam festival of penance and thanksgiving.  Ritual washing plays an integral part in the festival, which 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. ..