Panguni Uthiram: When bodies are pierced to thank Lord Murugan

Tamilians in South Delhi celebrate key festival


March 19, 2022

/ By / New Delhi

Though they may be living thousands of km away from Tamil Nadu, each year hundreds of Tamilians living in south Delhi gather at various temples to celebrate ‘Panguni Uthiram’, a festival dedicated to Lord Karthik, by piercing their faces and tongues with sharp objects and hooks in their backs to pull vehicles.

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As many residents of Delhi celebrated ‘Holi’, the festival of colours, many Tamilians living in the national capital alongside also gathered at various Tamil temples to mark one of their most important festivals, ‘Panguni Uthiram’.

Besides the more renowned Malai Mandir near R K Puram, a large gathering of Tamilians was also present at the Mariyamma temple in Jangpura to celebrate the festival that falls in Panguni Masam, the 12th month in the traditional Tamil calendar.

On the occasion, many of the devotees who believed that their Lord Murugan (Kartikeya), the eldest son of Lord Shiva, had granted their wishes, pierced their tongues and faces, irrespective of gender or age, and walked the streets to commemorate and thank Him. Many men also pierced their backs with hooks, roped to vehicles and chariots. As they pulled the vehicles, other devotees cheered them on.

During the event, devotees walk from Mariyamman temple to Nizamuddin Periyyai, another temple in Jalvihar, a distance of 2 km. Throughout the march, They beat drums, chant, dance and make way for the other devotees who have pierced their bodies to walk behind them, while devotees with hook piercings on their back pulls vehicles and chariots that have images of lord Kartikeya on them.

This year, the festival was celebrated on March 18 and it coincided with Holi. According to Pooja, a resident of Jal Vihar, the festival is held during the period of Panguni as is as per the Tamil calendar, it can come during Holi, before or even after it. “It doesn’t hurt when their bodies are pierced, they do it happily for god. Even my sister is amongst one of them who is getting her cheeks pierced this year, and she is doing it eagerly.”




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