Europe

Travels Oslo Norway, Post 2

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (11)

Day 2: The Long Weekender

Top Travel Tips; Places to See Things to Do

The day starts with a visit to the magnificent Vigeland sculpture park a must see for anyone visiting Oslo and probably the best collection of sculpture I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. This is the worlds largest sculpture park to be created by one sculptor and i don’t think i have ever seen or heard of anything like it before. Containing over 200 works created over a lifetime by Gustav Vigeland in a mixture of mediums from granite, wrought iron and bronze, it is a truly unique place.  There is also a vitality and life affirming charm to the quality and scope of the works that can but make you smile whilst the park itself is a great place to spend a day have a picnic, if the weather permits, weather was great when I visited in May! I have included a link with more info on the park to the bottom of this post.

Vigeland Sculpture Park

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (1)A Statue of Gustav Vigeland stands in a landscaped area at the entrance to the park.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (2)The wonderful vista from the highest point in the park.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (3)Granite sculpture in the park

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (4)Seagulls take flight from one of the water fountains

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (5)I like the vitality and strength of this piece

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (6)

 

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (7)This granite totem of humanity is mesmerising

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (8)The question, is the merely a child at play, or is there something more sinister implied?

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (9)Wrought iron details above entrance gates reminiscent of some elements of Aztec culture?

Next Stop

Søndagsmarkedet på Blå

Weekend market, which although small is quite charming. Also lots of street art in this area and close to the infamous squat.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (10)

 

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (11)Love this outdoor chandelier

 

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (12)

Street art fills the walls of the surroundings streets.

Hausmannsgate Squat

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (13)

Large anarchist squat compound, something you will no longer see in the UK due to changes in the law but still pretty common sight in many Germanic and Nordic countries. Squatters have inhabited the property since 1999 but apparently attempts are being made to evict them so the site can be demolished and  redeveloped. At present it is Scandinavia’s oldest inhabited squat. More info at link to bottom of this post.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (14)

Sinister rag doll nailed to the wall

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (15)

An interesting juxtaposition between the no parking sign and the detritus of the squatters with space ship in background.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (16)

I find this sign quite perplexing and its implied meaning  difficult to decipher.

Street scene 

One of many churches which seem to dominate the city.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (17)

 

The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet Building

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (23)

A fantastic piece of interactive architecture you can quite literally wander around the roof of the building as it is very much a social space outside, whilst hosting Opera and Ballet inside.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (18)

The reflective quality of the glass makes this building all the more striking. No travel to Oslo would be compete without a wander around this magnificent building, both inside and out.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (19)

 

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (20)

 

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (21)

 

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (22)

Inside the Opera House

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 2 (24)

The Opera house as seen from across the water.

Travelling to any destination for a weekend that requires a plane trip to get there, in my book needs advance research and careful planning. I will often plan my travel itinerary many months in advance of making the trip and although not everyone’s idea of travelling, I find it saves a lot of time that can then be spent making the most your trip seeing the best of whats on offer.  So below are some handy links.

Links for places featured in blog pictures.

For my Top 9 Travel Tips for Oslo click this link

For more info on The Vigeland Sculpture Park click the link

Sunday Market click this link 

For more info on The Opera House click this link

Hausmannsgate 42 Squat Oslo more info click this link  

 

Europe

The Long Weekender Oslo, Norway Part 1

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix  Day 1 (3)

9 Top Travel Tips for Visitors to Oslo, Norway

Or put another way, things you may want to consider before travelling to Oslo in Norway

 

The long weekender a 3 part picture post

Day 1

Top Tip (1) For travelers from the UK It’s very expensive, at probably about twice the price of the UK average for food and possibly 3 times the UK price for a drink with a bottle of beer costing about a tenner

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (1)

The Museum of Modern Art as seen from the water, with viewing lift in background. Yopu pay a small fee to ride to the top of this free standing lift shaft which offers pretty good views.

Top Tip (2) If travelling on a budget you may be surprised to find buying in  supermarket is generally no cheaper than eating out, but tap water is free and restaurants quite happy to provide it, even adding sliced lemon and cucumber in some places.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (2)

Picture of one of the current exhibits in the Museum of modern art, pretty funky place and some very interesting pieces as well as some downright bizarre installation including a gold life size porcelain of Micheal Jackson with chimp and a collection of heads of what is supposed to be Tom Cruise but looks nothing like him!

Top Tip (3) If your flight leaves you arriving late at night from the UK, as ours did with Ryanair from Manchester, there is a bus from the Airport to the City and is the cheapest way to get from the airport to the city, but try and choose accommodation that doesn’t involve a Taxi ride to your final destination. We took a 10 minute taxi ride and paid about £25!

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (4)

I particularly liked this pieces which is a shelf of books with books made of thin sheet steel.

Top Tip (4) If there is one must see destination for the short break weekender in Oslo and there are quite a few noteworthy places to visit it has to be the sculpture park, it’s unique and outstanding.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (5)

To the foreground of this picture is a small beach where locals go swimming when the weather permits brilliant public space so close to the city.

Top Tip (5) Whatever budget traveler you may be get an Oslo pass, worth its weight in gold as it includes all public transport, entry to various museums and attractions, including the ferry to visit the Viking museum.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (6)

I loved this tidy and uniform display of Violas against the outside wall of the museum.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (7)

The Modern Art Museum is also the contemporary heart of modern Oslo and situated on the waterfront is a prime spot with some very nice apartments and restaurants.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (8)

Nipples on a grass mound.

 Top Tip (6) Airbnb offers a fantastic selection of apartments available in and around Oslo many of which are available for very reasonable rental fees for a weekend visit, but it may also be worth spending bit more on a centrally located apartment, as it may well save a lot in transport costs.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (9)

I love this piece of public art chrome diver set to dive.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (10)

Everywhere you go in Oslo you are never too far from water whether its the sea or the countless water fountains

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (11)

Street scene Oslo on a busy Saturday

Top Tip (7) Top, Top Tip; when renting an apartment, bring your own coffee, tea, sugar and other dried foods, as it will save you a lot of money whether staying for a weekend,  a week, or longer.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (12)

Statue to the front of the Royal Palace

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (13)

Similar to the UK Norway has a Royal Family here a picture of the changing of the guard. The Palace itsefl although set in an imposing hilltop location is a rather dull looking building

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (14)

I love this water feature combination of brass  tubes creating a curtain of water

 

Top Tip (8) Putting the cost to one side Oslo is a great city and a wonderful place to spend a long weekend with lots to see and do! Just don’t forget your wallet.

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (15)

This fountain is to the rear of the Palace and set in a nicely wooded area of park

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (16)

I like the retro look of the rooftop sign and clock for Norwegian chocolate Freia. The seagull atop also obviously finds it a nice spot to perch on too

 

Top Tip (9) In the spring summer the sun may set at 12 midnight but rise again at 2am. It never really gets dark in summer. If you are the type of traveller who has difficulty sleeping in the light bring an eye mask!

Weeekender in Oslo by DKTravelPix Day 1 (17)

The sun sets on day 1 of the Oslo weekender but not for long!

Getting there and away from the UK

Ryainair have direct flights from Manchester Click here for info

Accommodation

We chose AirB&B lovely flat if a little far out from the center, however public transport is very good with regular bus services to and from. Click here for info

Top tourist spots mentioned in this post

Museum of Modern Art click here for more info

Royal Palace and Gardens click here for info

UK

The Roaches, Staffordshire, The Peak District

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Day Tripping in The Peak District

Having lived in Manchester for many years now and having spent any spare time, and nice weather weekends, exploring the Lake District and The Peak District I felt sure I had found, visited, and seen, pretty much every place of note. How wrong was I. Recently whilst preparing for the visit of some friends from London I fired off an email to Geoffrey, one of my visitors, asking where himself and his partner Alan might like to visit, should the weather be favourable.

My suggestion was either to be the Lake District, or The Peak District, both being a comfortable drive from Manchester for a day trip. When Geoff replied saying he would like to visit The Roaches I was slightly confused, initially thinking he had friends he wanted to visit. Inquiring further, he told me it was a place in The Peaks he had visited with his brother some 20 years ago on a bike trip around the UK. Needless to say I was intrigued, and more so, stunned, when we visited. A breath-taking and beautiful piece of landscape steeped in fine history.

The Roaches

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On a clear day like this one the views across the countryside to as far as Cheshire and a wondrous sight.

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Weather worn gritsone stands sculptural amid this landscape

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This is also a very popular spot for mountaineering with many climbers using it for training purposes.  The British Mountaineering Council also lease the Don Whillans Hut used as accommodation for its climbers.

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Geoff a dance movement therapist in London likes to connect with the landscape find out more by clicking the link at the base of this post.

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Europe Ireland

The Road To Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

The Road To Lough Dan, A Picture postcard by David Keegan (1)

The Road To Lough Dan

Day Tripping in The Wicklow Mountains

Hidden away and down stony lanes, over grassy hills, banked by screens of bracken fern, walk through the verdant ever changing weather and vista to reach the quiet shores of Lough Dan in Co Wicklow, Ireland.

The Road To Lough Dan, A Picture postcard by David Keegan (20)

Along the path, snatched glimpses of the Cloghoge River catch the eye, until it banks curve and wend to greet you as you arrive at the lake shores and the abandoned and forlorn white house. Meanwhile in the fields below herd of Sika deer pause to look before returning to graze.

 

The Road To Lough Dan, A Picture postcard by David Keegan (2)

The Road To Lough Dan, A Picture postcard by David Keegan (3)

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Asia Malaysia

Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia.

Langkawi Malaysia in pictures by DKTravelpix (8)

The Archipelago of Langkawi Malaysia

The Island of Pulau Langkawi is a tropical paradise located some 30 kilometers off the northwest coast of Malaysia. Considered the jewel in the crown of the state of Kedah it is in fact an archipelago of some 104 island in the Andaman Sea, with Pulau Langkawi being the largest inhabited in the Archipelago. Many refer to it as the Hawaii of South East Asia, but to me that title does not do it justice and having visited both I prefer Langkawi for the diversity of it landscape, wildlife and rain-forest. Mainstream tourism tends to concentrate around Pantai Cenang beach area and although this is a good base when visiting the island, being close to all the best eating and drinking establishments, there is so much more to explore and see not far beyond and all within short driving distances. I would recommend if you intend visiting Langkawi that you hire a car for at least some of your stay, if not all, as this will allow you to explore the Island more fully and freely. Driving in Langkawi is also a much easier and safer experience than what you might experience on mainland Malaysia. Being a duty free island expect to find lots of cheap tobacco, booze and chocolates.

Langkawi Malaysia in pictures by DKTravelpix (16)Offering a range of accommodation types from the cheapest budget places Langkawi also plays host to some top class and secluded luxury resorts, with the most highly rated probably being the Datai and closely followed by the Danna and the Four Seasons Langkawi. Links to all can be found at the end of this post.

A couple of places not to be missed I would suggest are the Langkawi Wildlife Park, and my favourite Gunung Raya.

Telaga Harbour Marina is also well worth a visit with a nice stretch of usually fairly quiet white sand beach just beyond the harbour area, although it’s not great for swimming as the as the base sand is muddy and slimy, I presume from pollution. There is also free parking on the beach edge at this place.

Langkawi Malaysia in pictures by DKTravelpix (1)

Langkawi Malaysia in pictures by DKTravelpix (2)

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Europe UK

Sunset in Picklescott, South Shropshire.

Sunset outside The Bottle and Glass Pub in  Picklescott, South Shropshire
Sunset outside The Bottle and Glass Pub in Picklescott, South Shropshire

Sunset outside The Bottle and Glass Pub in Picklescott, South Shropshire.

I took this picture a little while ago whilst visiting Picklescott of horse and rider taking a break outside the pub as the sun went down. Charming village and pub and great place to stop if you happen to be in that neck of the woods.

More info on the Bottle and Glass can be found by clicking this link 

and about Picklescott by clicking this link

Europe UK

The Jurassic Coast, Devon.

The Jurassic Coast Devon UK (9)

Devon

Jurassic Coast 

A recent road trip to Devon and Cornwall taking in parts of the Jurassic Coast. A UNESCO world heritage site its not hard to understand why once visited. You can read more of its fascinating history by clicking this link.  The plan was to head for Lyme Regis but as the weather was good and a Bank Holiday weekend to boot it was packed. Stopped long enough though to catch a pic along the beach. Heading off we happened upon a quaint and quintessentially English village where i stopped to buy a paper and i reckoned if you want to find where the locals go to avoid the crowds what better than to ask. the shop keeper. Helped by her grandson they both conversed between themselves for a few minutes one suggestion this place and the other that until they both settled on Tyneham.

The Jurassic Coast Devon UK (1)

Lyme Regis Coastline

I had seen no mention of Tyneham on the list of places to see and visit along the Jurassic coast so was immediately fascinated. It turned out to be far more intriguing than i could initially have imagined, or hoped for. It transpired that Tyneham had been evacuated by order of the war office in December 1943. The abandoned village of Tyneham has stood quiet, ghostly and forlorn since. You can read more of the fascinating history of this place by clicking this link. Access is not always available and the entire area around it is still used today as a military firing and practice range. During military  maneuvers the road is closed to traffic, best to check in advance if it is open. Luckily for me the road was open on the day i visited.

As a consequence whilst all other places along the Jurassic coast were crowded Tyneham was virtually empty apart from the savvy locals we joined. A beautiful place and a few pictures below to prove it

The Jurassic Coast Devon UK (2)

Passed this bridge along the way to the Jurassic coast in Devon

The Jurassic Coast Devon UK (3)

The Coastline at the abandoned village of Tyneham

The Jurassic Coast Devon UK (4)

The Jurassic Coast Devon UK (5)

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Uncategorized

Thaipusam festival Penang Malaysia 2016 (post 3 of 3)

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (21)

Post 3 The 10 kilometer walk back from the Temple 

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). It is mainly observed in countries where there is a significant presence of Tamil community such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia. I was fortunate enough to be in Penang this year when the festival was taking place. The picture post that follows is divided into 3 parts, but all from one festival day. The festival itself lasted for 3 days over a weekend.

Post 3

The final post in this series.

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (17)

Heading back down the steps from the temple to make my way back to Georgetown I am once again caught and carried by the sway and sheer exuberance of colour and sound. Exhausted by the heat and long trek up  I am nonetheless once again enthralled by the spectacle. The Kavadi devotees that come now look even more exhausted by the sheer and relentless heat of the sun.  The pictures will tell the story, as by this point i was exhausted and with little voice or energy other than trance and sway. A remarkable experience and one that will live with me for a long long time i can only recommend it be on all bucket lists.

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (0)

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (0a)

Unity, oneness, joy and celebration, the order of the day!

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (1)

This young girl was clearly having a whale of a time.

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Asia Malaysia

Thaipusam festival Penang Malaysia 2016 (post 2 of 3)

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (41)

Post 2 The 10 kilometer walk to the Temple 

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). It is mainly observed in countries where there is a significant presence of Tamil community such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia. I was fortunate enough to be in Penang this year when the festival was taking place. The picture post that follows is divided into 3 parts, but all from one festival day. The festival itself lasted for 3 days over a weekend.

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (35)

Post 2

By now it is getting close to midday as we set off on the 10 kilometer walk to the base of the temple Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Kovil. The sun beats down from overhead and the air hangs heavy amidst the humidity of the atmosphere and crowded streets. Everywhere is a riot of colour and sound as speakers pump out a rhythmic and hypnotic beat. Soon i find myself carried along by the sway of the music as we make slow walk to the temple. The pain and the endurance of the Kavadi Attam participants now clear to see, yet none that oi have seen falter. It must also be said that Thaipusam is not just about, or centered, on Kavadi Attam although given the visual spectacle of the bondage of hooks and hanging adornments this is a major draw for tourists and spectators. Thaipusam is very much a family based festival. Indeed on the plane from Singapore to Penang (which was mostly full of families heading to Penang for Thaipusam) I struck up a conversation with one man who was not in favour of the Kavadi as he felt he sent out the wrong message of this important Hindu festival and as such was a distraction. The pictures here tell the rest of the story far better than my words can describe. Suffice to say it has to be one of the most fascinating and exhilarating experiences of my life.

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (16)

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (17)

Each participant has a team of friends making sure they are ok whether it be quenching thirst or readjusting spears and pins. Each one of the cups seen in this picture is attached to the devotees body by means of a hook pierced through the skin. There are also a number of hooks lodged in his back each roped and held and pulled by the parson at back (see picture above) adding greatly to the strain and endurance of the participant.

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (18)

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (19)

Some do Kavadi Attam light preferring to support the frame to their bodies by means of a waist belt. However this is still a long and painful slog for all Kavadi Attam participants.

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (20)

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (21)

These pictures demonstrate the force used in pulling on the hooked ropes. This participant also has a very large spear pierced though his cheeks.

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Asia Malaysia

Thaipusam Festival, Penang, Malaysia 2016 (Post 1 of 3)

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (13)

Post 1 The Preperation

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). It is mainly observed in countries where there is a significant presence of Tamil community such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia. I was fortunate enough to be in Penang this year when the festival was taking place. The picture post that follows is divided into 3 parts, but all from one festival day. The festival itself lasted for 3 days over a weekend.

Post 1

Waiting at the bus stop for a bus to the festival starting point I strike up a conversation with a man from Singapore who travels with his temple community every year to celebrate the festival. He very kindly offers to take me to the preparation ceremony for their nominated Kavadi for the 2016 festival. He explained that of all the regions and communities that attend the festival the Singaporean group is the most committed to the true requirement of The Kavadi Attam (“Burden Dance”) as their devotee is speared to the flesh front and back, but also carries a metal temple on his head weighing some 25 kilos. He explained that most others preform Kavadi Atam light, using waist belts to hold the metal spines and polystyrene temples on top of their heads. I cannot overemphasise the difference and importance inherent in this given the 36 degree heat and high humidity. The nominee then has to carry the entire enterprise though this scorching heat and humidity from the starting point, a walk of some 10 kilometres, to the base of the temple Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Kovil which itself then involves climbing some 513 steps to reach the temple.  In preparation for the devotee will fast for anything up to 48 days prior to the festival day although my Singaporean friend tells me they fast for 2 weeks. Detailed explanation of Kavadi Attam below.

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (6)

Kavadi Attam

The Kavadi Attam (“Burden Dance”, also written as cavadee) is the ceremonial sacrifice and offering performed by devotees during the worship of Murugan, the Hindu God of War.[6] It is often performed during the festival of Thaipusam and emphasises debt bondage. The Kavadi itself is a physical burden through which the devotees implore for help from the God Murugan.[7] Devotees prepare for the celebration by cleansing themselves through prayer and fasting approximately 48 days before Thaipusam. Kavadi-bearers have to perform elaborate ceremonies at the time of assuming the kavadi and at the time of offering it to Murugan. The kavadi-bearer observes celibacy and take only pure, Satvik food, once a day, while continuously thinking of God. On the day of the festival, devotees will shave their heads and undertake a pilgrimage along a set route while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadi (burdens). At its simplest this may entail carrying a pot of milk, but mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers is also common. The simplest kavadi is a semicircular decorated canopy supported by a wooden rod that is carried on the shoulders, to the temple. In addition, some have a small spear through their tongue, or a spear through the cheeks.

The description of Kavadi Attam above is sourced from Wikipedia

 

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (1)

We took the ferry from Kedah on the mainland to Penang Island

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (2)

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (3)

Preparation and offerings for the Kavadi

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (4)

The devotee who preformed the Kavadi Attam in 2017 recives blessings prior top the start of the procession.

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (5)

Blessing a child

 

One of his assistants check the pins top make sure they are all securely anchored in place.

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (7)

The entire body frame is held in place by metal pins anchored in his chest and back but he is also speared through his cheeks with further adornments hooked into the face.

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