Do you know of the Hindu festival where devotees pierce their tongue and cheek with skewers and hooks ? Everyone is heavily pierced and strangely the piercing leads to no blood because it is believed that it happens due to the blessing of Lord. Also the devotees do not feel the pain, no scar because they go in a trance state when they get it done. This unique one that is celebrated in places which has South Indians populace (India, South East Asia) but at Batu Caves in Malaysia it is a thrilling spectacle.
There is an air of festivity in Kuala Lumpur at this time of the year and Tuesday, 3rd Feb 2015 will see millions of Hindu devotees (majorly Tamil origin) thronging the famous Batu Caves. The occasion is ‘Thaipusam’ , a grand and equally mystical festival celebrated in the honor of the deity, Lord Murugan. This year a special photography exhibition is running which celebrates 125 years of Thaipusam to celebrate the festival’s inception in 1891 .
I recently read about this unique Hindu festival and it caught my attention broadly in context with Malaysia and Batu Caves. On the very first day of my trip to Malaysia last year in August, we had started from the Batu Caves and I fondly remember my up climbing which comprised of nothing less than 272 steps to the temple cave. The Batu river that flows at the foot of the hill lends its name to this magnificent natural reserve which is situated in Gombak region, just 7 miles away from the Kuala Lumpur city.
The ritualistic festival is looked up with great fervour and passion in Malaysia and it attracts nearly a million people to Batu caves every year, the obvious reason being that the cave boasts of 42.7 meter, gigantic statue of Lord Murugan.
Uniqueness of Thaipusam
- The penitents and devotees in millions head to the Batu caves and gather at the foot of the hill below the Batu caves.
- The procession is called ‘Kavadi pilgrimage’
- The followers pierce their bodies, cheeks and tongues to enter in the state of trance to pay respect to the Lord Murugan.
- The festival commemorates victory of good over bad. This day the lord won over evil demon Soorapadam.
- Some of the fanatic devotees pull chariots and other objects from the hooks, spears pierced on their own body.
- As the ritual goes everyone up climbs the 272 stairs of Batu caves with a pot of milk or fruits or flowers of orange – yellow color as an offering to the lord.
- Fasting, prayers and austerities are part of the celebration.
- Its a colorful festival of procession, drumbeats, piercing and devout worshipers.
- ‘Thai’ means the month and ‘pusam’ means star.
- It doesn’t have a fix date and every year falls between Jan and Feb.
Batu Caves is a must visit in Kuala Lumpur itinerary. It is a hill made of limestone and has a series of caves. Outside India, it is a hugely popular Hindu shrine.
Happy Traveling and Discovering more and more.
My 6 days trip to Malaysia came as a reward as I won MalaysiaJao blogging contThaipusam Festival at the Batu Caves in Malaysiaest organized by Blogadda and Malaysia Tourism.