Sight for sore eyes! Sufi Muslim devotees poke their eyeballs out with sticks and swords and pierce their tongues during holy festival
- Urs Festival celebrates Sufi Muslim saint who died some 800 years ago
- Thousands of pilgrims from India and abroad travel to Rajasthan to celebrate
- Holy men perform ‘self-torture’ acts, including poking out their own eyeballs
Thousands of pilgrims are travelling to western India to take part in a Sufi Muslim festival which sees followers perform bizarre self-torture acts.
Sufi holy men can be seen poking out their eyeballs with swords or piercing their tongues with metal stick to mark the death anniversary of the saint that established their branch of Islam.
The Urs Festival celebrates Moinuddin Chishti, who founded the Chishtiya Sufi order around 800 years ago.
An Indian Muslim devotee performs a stunt by using a knife to bulge out his eyeball as he takes part in a religious procession for the annual Urs festival at the shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, in the Indian state of Rajasthan
Devotion: Another man has pierced his tongue with a metal stick and seen cash notes stuck onto it during the procession
The Urs Festival celebrates Moinuddin Chishti, who founded the Chishtiya Sufi order around 800 years ago
The religious procession through the city of Ajmer, in the western Indian state of Rajasthan, is part of the six-day long celebration of the saint.
Unlike other branches of Islam, Sufis devote themselves to particular saints – a concept other strands of Islam do not recognise.
It traces its principles from the prophet Muhammad through his cousin and son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib.
Sufis believe that they are practising ihsan [perfection of worship]’ as revealed by the Archangel Gabriel to Muhammad.
Sufi Muslims consider themselves as the original true proponents of a pure and original form of Islam.
Thousands of Sufi devotees from different parts of India travel to the shrine for the annual festival, marking the death anniversary of the Sufi saint
Muslim devotees carrying religious flags walk along a road as they arrive for the annual Urs festival at the shrine of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, in the Indian sate of Rajasthan