Panguni Uthiram is a Hindu festival that is celebrated in Singapore at the Holy Tree Sri Balasubramaniar Temple at Yishun. It is celebrated during the month of Panguni (March-April) and is held to celebrate the marriage of Rama and Sita. (I am always hesitant to explain the backgrounds of traditions for which i only have a rudimentary knowledge so you can read more about the tradition of Panguni Uthiram here.)
To the outsider the Panguni Uthiram festival shares many similarities to Thaipusam. Devotees carry kavadis and/or milk pots and walk a set route or pilgrimage.
Unlike Thaipusam, which begins and ends at different temples, the Paguni Uthiram route begins and ends at the same temple. The procession begins on Canberra Drive, moves along Canberra Lane, then Canberra Link before ending at the temple in Yishun Industrial Park A. As with Thaipusam some devotees choose to prove their faith by piercing themselves and the festival is imbued with the same sense of pride, tradition and joy that I’ve witnessed three times at Thaipusam.
What I found to be different to Thaipusam was that for the short while I was there I was the only outsider. Thaipusam has many spectators, but Panguni Uthiram had very few from outside the Hindu community. Ok, as far as I could see there was just me although a gentleman (who seemed to be an organiser) advised that the best time to see the big kavadis was after 4pm. I arrived about 8am but there was still plenty to see and experience.
I’ve ummed and ahhed about whether to post my photos of the day as I couldn’t ask permission from the participants to take their photos, and I specifically focussed on faces, but I do think the photos show the pride and dignity of the Hindu community. If anyone does recognise themselves or someone they know and they don’t want their photo included please leave a message and I’ll remove it pronto!