Thaipusam is an annual festival celebrated in Hindu communities around the world honoring Lord Murugan. In fulfillment of a vow that has been made, a woman carries a jug of milk up the 272 stairs of the Batu Caves temple complex in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India. In cities and towns throughout the peninsula, Hindu devotees engage in ritual prayers, often entering demonic trances which at times lead to impaling their bodies with long metal skewers. This aspect of Thaipusam commemorates the gift of a spear to Lord Murugan, the Hindu god of war, by his mother.

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