Thaipusam 2012 at Batu Caves (Hands)
This was my second year visiting Batu Caves for the incredible Thaipusam festival. Most of the Internet resources and images would be covering the color event and procession. I thought of adding a post dedicated to the hands involved in this festival.
I was lucky to have the opportunity to witness the preparation of a family joining the procession. So I was invited to take photos at close proximity. The following picture was taken when the Hindu priest or swami (excuse me if I used the wrong term) discover one of the needle was crook, and he was trying to straighten it.
I have another post dedicated to the piercing of tongues (and forehead). Here was a image of the hands that prepare the hooks that skilfully pierced onto the skin.
The following image was the brotherhood who support each other. The gentleman facing me have many milky pots hooked to his back. Then the guy with the back facing me took his turn to hook up many fruits (I surveyed with orange (not Sunkist), apple and pear). The weight was tremendous to bear.
Some of the kavadis weight more than 50KG and it was no joke to carry a long distance and up 272 steps up to Batu Caves. One needs more than just strong hands. The kavadi was bolded to the body with a waist harness.
The entire morning at Batu Caves, I was immersed into the loud rhythms. The musicians were critical to keep the spirit high and also put the devotees stay in the trance. Many people were swayed by the music.
Some devotees could enter into trance state in seconds, some took slight longer. I was blessed twice this morning. Once by this lady in red.
I was standing too near to this hand so you could see it was out of focus. The family member put a lime to cover the sharp point of the weapon so that no one got hurt.
To prepare for the journey was no easy feat. Devotees would have to fast for a month (one meal a day on vegetarian diet) to cleanse the body. During the procession, family members and friends played important supporting role to ensure the journey was safe. I witnessed a few cases of fainted devotees today.
They were also members who ensure the devotee under trance was walking in the right way.