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Piercing To Please The Gods

Hundreds of Indians pierce their bodies as a way of giving thanks to the goddess Mariamman.

Devotees flocked to Chennai in southern India to celebrate a Hindu tradition.

Chanting and dancing to the beat of drums, they pierced their tongues, cheeks and backs, some inserting hooks to suspend themselves in the air and offer prayers.

The painful act is done to earn spiritual merit from the goddess Mariamann. To gain more blessings, showing courage and strength, some pull vehicles using hooks in their backs. The local deity is believed to help cure people from disease.

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