The pilgrims of Thaipoosam journey through the night to honor the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a Vel "spear" so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman.They walk every February in the light of the full moon.

 

I stood by the side of the road under a small street lamp and captured the many and varied characters of the pilgrims as they journeyed on.

Many pilgrims carry a kavidar, a physical burden through which they implore help from Murgan. For some, this is a vel spear pierced through each cheek.

Indians feel it is an honor to be photographed, they are never afraid of the camera, they stare intensely into the lens, proud to reveal their worth, their devotion - confidently affirming their place in the world.

The energy of a gathering in India is immense, their affinity to each creates great power. The sheer joy, devotion and sense of purposes of the pilgrim seems to me the greatest wealth one can acquire.