This year was my first time joining the massive crowd at Batu Caves (Kuala Lumpur) to witnessed the unique celebration of Thaipusam.
Being on site was really different in terms of the emotional impact. I used to see the Thaipusam parade on television, and it was nothing compared to physically present.
During the few days of celebration, over one million worshippers and visitors were joining the celebration this Hindu festival.
Many devotees carried different form of Kavadi in the parade. Some would be piercing their skin or other ways to fulfill their promise or vow to the Hindu gods.
The entire temple compound was filled with people, literally shoulder to shoulder. So one could get really close to the worshippers, normally dancing in trance.
The trance state allowed the worshippers not feeling the pain or suffering while carrying their kavadi (burden).
One fresh coconut typically weight around 1KG and this guy have more than 20 coconuts hooked merely to his skin. You could really ‘feel’ it by seeing it up close. Some were comparatively lighter weight but still a great burden.
I was ‘hooked’ after my visit and I will be coming back on the next year in I am in the country.
No wonder the Thaipusam celebration at Batu Caves is classified as one of the top festive parade not to be missed in the world. Many foreign visitors purposely visit Malaysia just to witness this event.
I have great respect for the devotees who fulfilled their vows. It is important to keep our promises, to other human being, to our gods, or to ourselves.
Some devotees started their journey outside of Batu Cave (near the river), but some travelled from the Sri Mahamariaman Temple (Jalan HS Lee, near Petaling Street), and walk the 10KM journey on bare foot. The silver chariot carrying the Murugan deity will follow this long route from KL to Batu Cave starting after midnight.
This series was taken with Olympus E-PL1 with m.Zuiko 14-150mm lens. I would try to explore different location and using different gears on the next visit. If you are visiting Batu Caves the first time, you can take the commuter train, or drive your own car (just have to park further up the shoplots area and walk a short distance. See you at Batu Caves 2012.