By Mark McConville
SHOCKING video footage has captured two Hindu men performing extreme penance at a religious festival by being suspended from a 30-foot-tall pole with just hooks pierced into their skin.
Devotees of Kamakshi Amman temple in Chengam in Tamil Nadu, India, take a vow to perform the penance during the annual festival held on a new moon day in February.
This year on February 4, hundreds of devotees lined up to get skin pierced with metal hooks and be suspended in mid-air from a pole erected near the idol of Kamakshi Amman goddess.
Some of them also slid down a pole in a scary manoeuvre carrying offerings to the goddess.
A few men were even seen carrying babies to invoke the blessings of the goddess on the children.
The ritual of hanging from a pole by the skin is popular in many parts of India. Many rationalists slam it as superstition and called for its ban.