As in other festivals, a different "Vahanam" is used for each day's procession. On the seventh day, the full-moon day marking the Thai Pusam Festival, the deity is taken to the banks of the Shanmuga Nadi River for a bath and the temple car drawn by thousands of devotees. There is a gaily-decorated float festival on the tenth day.
The unique nature of the Thai Pusam Festival is the astonishing parade of people bearing "Kavadis". As already stated, the Kavadi, associated with Idumban, Vassal of Muruga, originated in Palani.
There are several kinds of Kavadis, the milk and rosewater Kavadis being the principal ones. The central shaft of the semicircular wooden structure is placed on the shoulders and the pilgrims dressed in yellow costume and decorated with garlands, undergoing many privations to fulfil vows, dance their way through the streets and up the hillock under the hypnotic music provided by the drum, the pipes and the tom-tom.
It is a Tandava as opposed to the "lasya" form of dance and when performed with vigour and quick movements produces in the spectators a feeling of exultation and a temptation to keep step with the rhythm and dance.
Extreme devotion prompts some Kavadi dancers to disfigure their lips. The lower lip is pierced through for the insertion of a copper or brass ring, often with a view to maintain strict silence. The dancers subject themselves to rigorous austerities and try to get rid of their ego, anger, lust and other vices.
The divine songs are rendered in charming music by a trained singer and repeated by others in chorus and the emotion-choked dancer goes into raptures hearing them. Sometimes they react by shifting the Kavadi over their shoulder, head, nose, etc., in seesaw position, displaying great artistry with many a pose and movement in rhythm, unaided by hand.
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