THOUSANDS of people flocked to the capital on Sunday for one of the most colourful and exciting events on the religious calendar.
The annual celebration of Hindu culture took over west Ealing peaking in a startling and shocking chariot procession through the bustling London borough.
More than 10,000 people from all over Europe are believed to have attended this year’s jaw-dropping spectacle.
Organised by the Shri Kanagathurkkai Amman Temple, the festival commemorates the Hindu war god Murugan’s defeat of the demon Soorapadam using a ‘divine spear’ known as a vel.
He is the Commander-in-Chief of the army of the devas and the son of Shiva. He is also the primary deity of the Kaumuram sect of Hinduism.
Those taking part in the festival offer up a sign of devotion to Murugan – including piercing their skin with vels.
Hundreds of other devotees rolled their bodies along the rough road surface as their painful act of devotion.
Wearing traditional dress, scores of women marched through the streets carrying pots on their heads while musicians played alongside them.
But it was the brightly-decorated chariots that proved the biggest draw.