Today is the Hindu festival of Thaipusam.
It's not for the faint-hearted.
It's a day of atonement for sins and thanksgiving.
Devotees prepare themselves by fasting and general abstinence and have their bodies pierced and skewered.
Many carry Kavadis; large frames decorated with peacock feathers which support spikes driven into their bodies.
This man has just finished a 4 kilometer walk carrying the kavadi and is having the skewers removed.
There is much chanting and drumming which helps to keep the mind focussed, minimizing any pain.
The white powder is ash which is smeared on the wounds to prevent infection and reduce bleeding.
Some more Thaipusam images here: http://www.pbase.com/clyne/thaipusam