Thaipusam (Tamil: தைப்பூசம்) is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (Jan/Feb).
It is a huge celebration over at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur last Saturday. It was reported that 1.7 millions visitors turned up for the event.
Every year, thousands of Hindu devotees carry pal kodam (milk pots) and the kavadi to fulfil vows made to Lord Murugan.
For me, it was a fantastic opportunity to snap photographs of the colourful and exotic festival. I wanted to go on the eve but it rained in my area, so I decided to stay home.
On Thaipusam day, I took a train to KL and then a bus to Batu Caves. It was a smooth journey surprisingly - only a short traffic jam approaching Batu Caves.
As anticipated, the crowd was huge! Drums and devotion songs filled the air. Kavadi dancers swirled and twirled to the beat of the drums as if they were spinning out of this world!
It was an amazing sight!
Shocking body piercings. Seen here a devotee had his back hooked with tiny metal pots and lime. Yup! They were hooked on alright. With tiny fish hooks!
Check out the first person's experience of a Hindu devotee on his piercing HERE.
One with the apples.
Hooks and chains.
Bigger hooks and chains.
Come on! You can do it! The guy was pulling a chariot using chains hooked to his back! Super-human!
Beautiful kavadi. The kavadi are getting bigger and more elaborate every year!
Young devotee and his guardian.
The tallest Lord Murugan idol in the world! A whopping 42.7m (130 feet high) high statue watching over the devotees.
A journey of faith up the 272 steps to the Cave Temple.
I decided not to climb up the steps to the cave temple. Simply too many people. Photo opportunities were abundant once I got down the bus, so I do not have to go up further.
I also made my way to the press stands. There were two stands there.
The press stand was a wobbly scaffolding and not really a brilliant example of a good safety structure. The photographers might ended up being photographed for the headlines instead if disaster stikes.
We hope they would spend some money to make a better and safer press stands in the future. Ahem! - We do not need a to spend on making a GIANT billboard of our politicians at the event ground! Put the money back for the people!
The view from the press stand. Breathtaking, eh? 1.7 million people at the celebration!
This is how you drink when your cheeks are pierced with a metal rod.
Santa? A white man is bringing present to Lord Murugan in the form of kavadi. :)
He even got his tongue pierced with a tiny "vel" (lancet).
A young kavadi dancer. Only 8 years old. Very tough boy! (Insert applause here)
Watch his kavadi dance HERE.
AirAsia's own version of "kavadi"??? Just kidding! Promotion to India during Thaipusam - whoever think of this marketing promo should be promoted. I think it's brilliant! LOL! :)
Free Mooru courtesy of Nestle! Yum! Yum! Mooru is a refreshing drink blended from yogurt and spices.
Pakatan Rakyat booth offered free mineral water and mandarin orange. How sweet - Chinese New Year is around the corner! :)
There are many more booths offering free meals and drinks for devotees, but I do not have time to check them out because of the looooooooooooong queue!
I left Batu Caves after about 2 hours soaking in the atmosphere! I was completely enchanted and amazed by the festival!
Now, video time. Please note that there are certain scenes that can be disturbing to the faint-hearted. So, watch at your own risk.
I will return next year to climb up the 272 steps up to the cave temple. Who wanna join me?
How to get to Batu Caves during Thaipusam?
How to get to Batu Caves during Thaipusam?
1) KTM usually have promo or special train services to Sentul station on eve and Thaipusam Day. From there, feeder buses are available to Batu Caves. Check with the KTM counter. On other days, you have to take a cab from the station.
2) Take Metro Buses/ SJ Buses from Jalan HS Lee (Opposite Bangkok Bank). It costs RM3 per way. Buses are very frequent on Thaipusam Day. So, no worry about driving to Batu Caves and get stuck in the massive jam there.
Hope you enjoy the blog post and find the info useful. Comments are welcome.
If you liked the Thaipusam video, you might want to check out the Panguni Uthiram Celebration video. It was taken at Sri Marathandavar Temple in Maran, Pahang last year. Another awesome event not to be missed!
Acnowledgment to my runner friend - Selva. Thanks for all the info about Thaipusam. Dude, if you carry a kavadi next year, I will go all out and join you (take picture, not carry kavadi-lah). Vanakam! :)