Thaipusam is believed to be the day goddess Parvathi gave her son Lord Murugan a powerful weapon to fight demons. Marked in the Hindu calendar as the full moon of the Tamil month of ‘Thai”, Thaipusam is an annual celebration, with colourful festivities taking place primarily in the Batu Caves near Kuala Lumpur.
This festival is famous mainly because of the rituals the devotees follow to please and praise the Lord. Celebrated not only by the Indian community but also the locals and tourists who throng to Malaysia during the time, watching the Thaipusam celebration is an experience in itself. Many tourists plan their trip to Kuala Lumpur keeping the festival dates in mind.
As part of the celebration, devotees pierce their bodies with metal spears and climb up the 272 stairs to the top of the limestone hills to reach the Batu Caves. Inside the caves, numerous carvings depict tales of Hindu mythology, including a calming statue of Prithvi and a gigantic statue of Lord Hanuman.
The festivities take place over three days in Kuala Lumpur and start out in the early morning with a succession starting from the city’s oldest Hindu temple. A golden chariot carrying the statue of Lord Subramanian is escorted by thousands of worshippers till Batu Caves.
At the base of the hill, the devotees prepare themselves to offer thanks or pay penance to the Lord. Other than piercing themselves with spears, the devotees carry huge “kavadis” with offerings of milk and flowers. At the top of the hill, they offer their prayers and complete the rituals that follow. After the three days of festivities, the procession returns to the temple with the devotees walking along, singing and beating drums to keep the morale up.
If you are planning a visit to Kuala Lumpur and if it happens to be at the time of Thaipusam, your local guide from Locaguide will be able to help you witness this grand celebration and even participate if you wish to offer your prayers to the Lord.0