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A Hindu devotee participates in the annual fire walking ceremony at the Sri Raj Maha Mariamam Temple at Howell Road in Suva.

The annual firewalking ceremony at one of the biggest Hindu temples in Fiji is a major event on the calendar of devotees.

As is the case every year, when it does take place, the noise and celebration surrounding the event inevitably draws in everyone around the temple, whether they’re devotees or not.

And so it was that hundreds flocked to the Sri Raj Maha Mariamman Temple at Howell Road in Samabula yesterday to witness the annual fire walking pooja (religious ceremony).

The weeklong pooja which commenced on August 20 culminates today with the final set of prayers followed by a feast for all.

As always, the fire waking ceremony became the highlight of the event and people from all walks of life filled up the Suva Sangam High School and the temple complex, located in the same compound, to catch a glimpse of the devotees who courageously walked on fire without sustaining any burns or harm, passing their test of faith.

The group of devotees started the afternoon with a march from Nasese all the way to the temple, singing and dancing to the tunes of their religious hymns and dressed in their traditional yellow and red attire.

Completing their journey, which they set off on barefoot, the group entered the main prayer arena and walked on fire with trishuls (tridents) stuck through their cheeks.

All this took place to the accompanied beating of drums and the piercing blasts of the southern Indian wind instrument, the shahenai, leaving those present at the venue in awe.

Tourists also grabbed an opportunity to be part of the event and were seen filming and taking shots of the colorful activities at the temple.

The annual fire walking pooja is organised by the Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam (TISI) organisation.




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