It’s one of those events that photographers crave, when we run into some rich cultural event entirely by accident. And that’s the way not came down yesterday, when I happened into a Hindu Festival to the god Murga, know to locals here as Cataragama. Murga is the god for families and for those people starting a new business venture. Its adherents are a passionate bunch, as you will see here.
This man was one of several who put a stick through his cheek to show his devotion, or in some cases to prove their worth for blessings from the god. The festivities begin the night before and wind from the temple a few kilometers away to the town center and back. The festivities include fire walking and putting sticks through the skin of the back. The Hindus participating in the procession dance themselves into a frenzied trance. They can dance like this for 24 hours.
The object you will see on the back of the dancer in the video is normally kept in the temple, but is removed once a year for this festival.
Here is a 1-minute video of the street scene I came upon.