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On the way to Père Laval's shrine you pass the wonderfully ornate Tamil Kaylasson temple.

The large complex is an extravaganza of colourful domes and carved gods on different tiers, around the intricately-carved, multi-hued roof. The flashes of gold and strong blues make a dazzling contrast with the green backdrop of the Moka mountains and the colours inside are equally striking.

A good time to visit, providing you are not squeamish, is during Cavadee, when the whole area around the complex fills with penitents praying and piercing their bodies. Friends and family take skewers and needles from battered tins before inserting them into the pilgrims' cheeks, chests, backs and arms in an elaborate design. The tongue is pierced last and, after prayers and celebrations in the temple, the pilgrims, many of whom are by now in a trance proceed to the fire-walking.

Cavadee, which takes place in January or February, is one of the most spectacular events in the Tamil calendar with this religious festivals taking place throughout the island.