GEORGE TOWN: Having over 150 shells hooked onto his body every Thaipusam is an act of filial piety for G. Kalidhas to his late father.
The company manager has been doing this for almost two decades. There were years where he also carried a kavadi.
Kalidhas, 40, also had mini paal kodam (milk pots) hooked on his back.
His sister Malini, 34, said the shells are kept to be reused next year.
“We find it unique to use shells instead of the mini paal kodam which most people would use.”
Kalidhas was among thousands of devotees who had their mini paal kodam hooked onto their torsos and back.
There were also some who got their mouths pierced with spears to fulfil their penance before making their way from Lorong Kulit to the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Hilltop Temple in Waterfall Road yesterday.
Another devotee, R. Mahendran, 31, said he always wanted to carry the kavadi and finally found the strength to do it this year.
“I have so many things to feel blessed about from last year as I got married and managed to land a new teaching job.
“It is all a blessing for me,” he said, adding that he had to observe a strict vegetarian diet and abstain from alcohol for a month.
Carrying the kavadi is to fulfil one’s vows to Lord Muruga or atone for one’s sins.
The devotees would go into a trance-like state during the body-piercing feats and felt no pain.
On Sunday, the silver and golden chariots began their procession to the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Hilltop Temple.
The chariots will make their way to the respective temples this afternoon.
The celebration continued yesterday as the thaneer panthal (refreshment stalls) along Jalan Utama served free vegetarian food and drinks to devotees and the public.