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Feast your eyes on this: Sufi Muslim holy men perform bizarre acts of self-torture at religious festival

  • Sufi Muslims seen putting knives in their eyes as part of the Urs Festival
  • Followers of mystic branch of Islam harm themselves to show their faith 
  • Holy men also pierce their cheeks and drive skewers into their backs
  • Other rituals at festival in India include all-night singing and firing a cannon

These pictures show Sufi Muslim holy men performing bizarre acts of self-torture at a festival to mark the death of a saint.

The annual Urs Festival sees thousands of followers of the branch of mystic Islam take to the streets to commemorate the founder of Sufi, Moinuddin Chishti.

To show devotion to their faith, the holy men put swords in their eyeballs, pierce their cheeks and drive skewers into their backs.


The pictures, taken in Amjer in Rajasthan, India, show Sufis meeting for the six-day festival.

People can be seen taking photographs on camera phones as the men push knives into their own eyes.

Other parts of the festival include night-long singing by worshippers and the symbolic firing of cannons.


Unlike other branches of Islam, Sufis devote themselves to particular saints – a concept other strands of Islam do not recognise.

The Urs Festival celebrates saint Moinuddin Chishti, who established the religion around 800 years ago.

The march, which will see men self-flagellate with sharp blades, ends 75 miles away at a shrine in Bhadiyad.




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