Wednesday, April 29, 2009

From Batu Caves to Maran: A Walk-umentary

What? KL-Maran 204km Walk

Where? From Batu Caves, KL to Maran, Pahang.

When? 4-8 April 2009

Who? Organised by Tamil Nesan

How Long? 204km over 3 days.

This is my biggest and most personal post yet in my blog. Hahah! Not trying to write an epic here but just to document my journey as detail as possible. I have to break them up in several smaller posts for easy perusal.

Each year, I would do something or go to the places that I have never done or go before. Something crazy. Something out of the ordinary. Something that challenges me. This happened to be IT, this year – The KL-Maran Marathon 2009.

The walk was basically an annual Hindu pilgrimage, a 204km walk from Batu Caves to Sri Marathandavar Temple, Maran to pay homage to Lord Murugan in the Panguni Uthiram festival. En route, we visited a few smaller lesser known Hindu temples for rest, food and shelter.

Panguni Uthiram festival is observed by the Hindu devotees over a 10 days period in March-April every year. It is not as grand as Thaipusam at Batu Caves, another grand festival for Lord Murugan but it is not less fascinating.

The journey was even though was long and arduous; it was a humbling yet enriching experience for me. I met new friends. L learned new things. Enjoyed the richness of Indian culture without having to go to India.

Saw things with my very own eyes which otherwise I could only see on TV. Only in Malaysia! Malaysia BOLEH! Heheh!

From Batu Caves to Maran: Day 1

From Batu Caves to Maran: Day 2

From Batu Caves to Maran: Day 3

From Batu Caves to Maran: Walk Wit Milk

From Batu Caves to Maran: Panguni Uthiram

From Batu Caves to Maran: Sri Marathandavar Temple

From Batu Caves to Maran: Bazaar

From Batu Caves to Maran: Food

From Batu Caves to Maran: Feedback

From Batu Caves to Maran: My Photo Gallery

Acknowledgments:

First and foremost – Julie Wong for introducing this walk of faith to me. Thank you for the well written do and don’ts list for the walk. It saved lives! Thanks to Amelia and Wai Mun for walking the long journey with me.

Organisers and sponsors – Tamil Nesan, various temple committees, Sports Toto, Milo and also the villagers along the way to provided food and refreshments! Thank you for your generosity and hospitality.

Volunteers – RELA, Police Force, St. John Ambulance, Medical officers who look after our welfare during the walk. Couldn’t have done it without you guys! Thanks!

To me fellow Indian friends. Too many to name here but you know who you are. Thank you for accepting us with open arms. Thank you for allowing me to eat, bathe, sleep and walk with you guys. Thank you for taking the time to explain the rituals and “silly” questions from me. Thank you for the encouragements to complete the walk. Thank you for your friendship!

A special thank to Uncle Shunmugan for being my pacer..LOL! This 80 years old man can sure walk. I had to catch up most of the time. Also, thank you for allowing me to photograph the prayer ceremony and be part of the milk carrying procession.

NANDRI!!! (Thank You in Tamil)

Disclaimer:

I am not an expert in Hindu culture and I am not a Hindu for that matter. The information and views on post is based on my own personal experiences and also from varying sources like the internet, the people I met etc with varying levels of accuracy. Please inform me if you find anything that is inaccurate, incomplete and in error.

I also would like to apologize if I ever unintentionally offended anyone with my jokes in the post. This is not an educational piece. It is a personal observation and I do add liberal doses of “spices and sauces” or jokes to this one as my other blog posts.

Pictures and video clips are all taken by me (except some were from Amelia). Should you want to use it in your blogs, please ensure I am credited and provide a link back to my blog. Thank you.


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