Thaipusam Babies

From the archives (May 7, 2015):

Ramsundar Lakshminarayanan is a photographer based in New York City. From 2010 to 2014 he lived in Singapore and took his first lessons in photography at the Photographic Society of Singapore (PSS). In the course of his studies, he became interested in documentary photography, in particular, the photo essay. The exhibition of his photo essay “Progress” opened in Singapore last month, as part of the celebration of Singapore’s 50th year of independence, and will be on view at the PSS until May 12. You can preview some of the works in this video.

“Thaipusam Babies” is a series of photographs taken at Sri Thandayudhapani Temple, in Singapore, on January 27, 2013. As Ramsundar explains:

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival that is celebrated in the Tamil month of Thai. In South East Asia, the festival is famous for kavadis, spikes and processions. It is a huge tourist attraction in Singapore. On the occasion of Thaipusam, several people shave their heads as an offering to the deity Lord Muruga. It is customary in several Hindu families to shave the heads of their newborn and little ones before they attain a certain age. This is usually done in a Temple. Thaipusam provides an auspicious occasion for headshaving. It is a family affair, that is followed by religious prayer/ceremony and a feast.

His photographic series shows a wide range of emotions on the children’s faces: shock, stoicism, indifference, a sense of betrayal. At such times, parents welcome the distraction of a photographer, to take their children’s minds off what is happening to them.



Ramsundar Lakshminarayanan practices photography as a hobby and a passion. He is an information technology and management professional. He works for a leading financial services firm in New York. Ram can be reached at