Sunday, February 8, 2009

.: Thaipusam :.

The day Hindus pay homage to Lord Murugan.

World tallest golden statue of Lord Murugan (42.7 metres) at the Batu Caves Temple, Selangor.

Photo by Ravi John Smith; Source: Malaysia Postcards #46629

Celebrated on the 10th month of the Tamil month of Thai, the climax is the grand chariot of Lord Murugan and colorful kavadi procession from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown to the towering limestone cliffs inhabiting the Batu Caves Temple. *approximately a 15km, 8 hour journey trek* Each year, the mammoth scale festival attracts close to 800,000 to 1.2 million devotees together with tens of thousands of observers comprising of various ethnic groups and faiths.

Other sights and sounds include, throngs of chanting pilgrims, the smashing of fresh coconuts throught the meandering route, thunderous drumming and the blowing of nathaswaram *wooden pipes*crooning devotional tunes, dances etc. As for observations, some devotess conform to a strict vegetarian diet, abstain from pleasure activities, meditation, carry pots of milk, etc. The elements of Thaipusam radiate a loud carnival atmosphere, making it one of the largest festivals held annually in Malaysia. The public holiday applies to states with a considerably large population of Indians. And yes, I'm on holiday. *our calendar is infested with festive holidays*

Literally mean burden is a decorated framework with metal spikes and hooks as long as a metre long on top of chains and ropes anchoring the entranced devotees' bodies as means of attaining penancy, fulfillment of vows or thanksgiving. One hardly shed any blood nor feel any pain from it. Faith, is the key ingredient to reaching to this level of religious observance.

Although Batu Caves is like 20mins from my house, I've never been there let alone witness the entire procession. Few years ago, my Indian friend invited me to tag along to have a feel of it . After hearing the itinerary details, I fear I may not have the endurance. *leave school at 10pm, 2am the procession begins, 4pm, leave Batu Caves* The last thing I want to do is trouble her on her auspicious festival. She filled me in on the details though. *it was her first time there*

To all Hindus:: May your Thaipusam celebrations bring the greatest of joys for you and your family!

Did I mention this is the time when vegetarian-based Indian sweets, goodies of all kinds are available? ^^

Tomorrow, is another festival. :)
8.35am Malaysian Time


Hajar Zamzam Ismail said...

What an interesting holiday. It sounds like every other day is another festival in Malaysia. I love to read your blog to learn about each one. If you ever attend a festival, please take pics so I can see too. :) Thanks.

Hajar Alwi said...

I'll be exaggerating if I say yes. LoL. Insya'Allah, I'll make it a point to post it if I have any. ^^