Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thaipusam 2011

Thaipusam, or sometimes known as Thaipooyam, is a Hindu festival celebrated by Hindus to commemorate the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a vel(a spear) to destroy the evil demon Soorapadman.

Batu Caves is the place where millions of Hindus in the Klang Valley converge to celebrate the event.
I woke up early in the morning, 3:15am to be exact, brushed up and went in Ivy's car. Btw I find her car extremely clean.
Thaipusam is celebrated on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai(January/February). So the moon was really pretty that night-captured using 55-200mm zoom lens.
On route to the cave, we walked pass this building and I was kinda disturbed upon seeing the number of air conditioning unit for this single building. Imagine the amount of electricity required to power up those machines and more importantly, the amount of pollutants such as CFC released into the air(though not many modern air conditioning unit still uses the CFC, but it's still disheartening.
Look at the wave of devotees flocking into the cave! Btw I guess the big statue there is the statue of Murugan, as he is holding a spear in his right hand. There are 272 stairs leading to the cave.
This dude has got pots of milk hooking on his body. This form of self-sacrifice requires the devotee to undergo a 48-days fasting as well as performing elaborate ceremonies before the Thaipusam. Staggering stamina. We could hear people calling out velvel! velvel! along the way. It's a form of encouragement for the devotees, and it literally means "spear", which was given by Parvati to Murugan.

Upon reaching the cave, there is a priest waiting to take off the hooks from their body. They would then pray and do some ceremony. Oh btw the guy just fainted.

There are various forms of Kavadi, the easiest being carrying a pot of milk. Heavier or larger kavadis involve hooks stuck into the back and either pulled by another walking behind or being hung from a decorated bullock, with the point of incisions of the hooks varying the level of pain. The greater the pain, the more god-earned merit.
Alright I didn't know that Theirry Henry is a Hindu, and that Batu Caves has got his attention.

The people are burning plastic bags. Sorry to say but it's really sickening to see the bags going up in flame and no one seems to be bothered at all, except perhaps Ivy and myself.
There is no stick. Don't worry, I understand what you're trying to convey dude XD
Stalactite hanging above us. I could sense droplets of water in the cave. Imagine if one actually falls...
Night view of KL city from the entrance to the cave. Panoramic view-thanks to the photographer.
This explains why cows are exalted by Hindus. But I couldn't find the name of the goddess.
This is funny. I saw something rising upward in the sky, and I thought it was a lantern or something, so I took out my zoom lens and snapped a shot, and zoomed in... EPIC FAIL TWEETY.

Outside the cave there is temple dedicated to the Monkey King Hanuman. He appeared in the Rayamana, helping Rama to defeat the demon king Ravana. Awesome statue.
The girls went to had their hands tatoo-ed. RM 5 per hand.
Ahhh... so this is the right way of using a tripod huh? How do you know it's snapping the right target?
This is another sickening view besides the plastic-burning incident. A stall was giving away free roti canai and the people discarded the polystyrene everywhere. It shows that we haven't really evolve.
This river I think acts like the Ganges River. Devotees go in the river and clean themselves. Just like her Indian counterpart, this river isn't really clean though..
 This man of god has a spear through his mouth. He is deciphering the man's fate for the coming year.
 I had my arm tattoo-ed as well. Great muscle, I know =P... oh and fair skin XD

 They had their tattoos modified cuz they weren't happy with the first tatoo.
 Saman is the way of Malaysian. Love it. RM 300 gone on the day of Thaipusam.
Nikon D7000. If only I have sufficient cash to convert my D60 to a D5000...cheaper than D90 but it has video recording ability.

All in all, it was a great experience really. I saw for the first time people actually puncture their mouth and tongue with a spear, and according to them it boasts no scar. o.O unbelievable? I know.

Experiencing a new form of culture is really cool. I don't mind coming back for another Thaipusam next year because in every kavadi I sensed the spirit and dedication of Hindu devotees to their gods, and that is worth a thousand rounds of applause.

info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaipusam


  1. I thought i left a comment here a while ago. but it doesn't seem to be here.

    this is funny. :) i like.

  2. Oh.. ha ha. thanks thanks I will continue to keep my car cleaner and cleaner. i used to decorate my car with Snoopies.... =p
    i wanna go there again too next year =) we should go abit later.. it was a lil too dark for photography



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