Friday, February 8, 2013

Thaipusam 2013, Batu Caves

27 Jan - not my usual Sunday to begin with. This was probably the highlight of my 5D4N My Selangor Story 2013! After more than 3 decades living in this beautiful land, I had the opportunity to visit Batu Caves during Thaipusam festival for the very first time. Yes! first time. Shocker, right? Well..I've visited Batu Caves many times but not once I have the opportunity to be there during Thaipusam. So here I was, all thanks to Tourism Selangor! And this is My Selangor Story Day 3.

Woke up at 5am and while this is not my usual waking hours, I was anxious with my level of curiosity running high on what to expect today. I used to watch on tv and browse through pictures in the internet during Thaipusam in Batu Caves, but never dare to step my foot there as it will be crowded with normally more than 1 million people!  

Special arrangement has been made and after light breakfast, we gathered at Menara Majlis Perbandaran Selangor (MPS). Joining MSS2013 was simply bursting with surprises. We were not only given special privilege of staying in luxury places but also were treated like a VIP. How often do you get that? Anyway so as I was saying, we gathered at MPS because there will be 2 marshals escorting us to Batu Caves! So give way peeps, MSS2013 bloggers are coming! like a grand entrance with siren sounds penetrating the streets, we reached as close as it could be to the entrance of Batu Caves. 
give way people..MSS2013 are coming at you
peacock feathers everywhere to be seen. Symbolic features of Lord Muruga's peacock pet

And from that point, we started walking to one of the most captivating scene with miracle and mysterious event celebrated mostly by the Hindus on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). The festival computerate when the goddess Parvati gave Lord Muruga the VEL (spear) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman. It is also believed that Thaipusam festival is to take a vow and pray to God so that bad traits will be demolished. 
oranges, apples and pot hanging by the hook.
As I approached towards the entrance of Batu Caves, the place was already packed with people and loud music. I could see the Lord Muruga statue shining bright from the staring of the sun. 
Lord Muruga statue-magnificent! And look at the crowd on the left. 

It was massive and crowded. We decided to break into smaller groups as it would be impossible to stick as one while we gazed ourselves into the crowd. Various types of devotion ranging from kavadi bearer, spear piercing through cheeks and tongue, hooks stuck at the back, some are in trance while some shave their heads and undertake a pilgrimage route while carrying a pot of milk. 

one of my favorite picture. the reaction of the young boy on the left and on the right - a devotee that was in trance, which represent as one of the Hindu deities while smoking a cigar.
piercing the cheeks
a young shaved girl looking at his dad that carrying the pot of milk
calm yet fierce looking while holding a hot burned charcoal with her bear hands
a moment of silent

Mind blowing and simply give me goosebumps while I'm writing this, it was one the most fascinating festival I've been to. I still find it hard to digest the miracle of endurance the devotees when through. A humbling experience and how it grips my soul almost effortlessly. As I asked for forgiveness and blessing while praying to Lord Muruga, it was a mixed baggage of emotional. A little teary moment as I witnessed and felt the strong vibe of determination, passion and strong will! It was like recollecting all the advise and lesson taught by my late grandma when i was younger. Never give up no matter what happen coz somehow or rather if you put your mind to it, God will lead the way. :) 
parents carrying their newborn baby as vow after their prayers to conceive a child was fulfilled.
the devotee's companion placing kum kum on his forehead
characters were reflected as he got into a trance
Winny and I decided to climb that 272 steps and check out what happen up there. So up we went passing through massive crowd while the devotees chanting VEL VEL . 
imagine paving through this crowd..but yes we did managed be on top and return down safely

Upon reaching the top we could see most of the devotees are taking off their kavadi. Some are sitting and reminiscing the moment while some are giving offering in forms of coconut and fruits to the temple while the priest says the prayers. Inside a cave, packed of people from walks of life came here for one reason..simply a bizarre scene but all the name for good deed.  
from the top view
young boy rushing to handover his pot of milk
simply gorgeous caves with Lord Muruga statue
the cave that unite millions of people today
the piercing body
another temple on top inside the cave
coconut as offering and joystick for prayers
another stairs up inside the cave
yup..this is real as it fortunate and blessed to be here to witness this
winny interviewing one of the devotee 
The experience was simply exhilarating and overwhelming. You could even see many tourists from all around the world come to Batu Caves simply to witness the anticipation. It was a grand festival and am proud that our own Selangor able to provide all this indescribable experience. After all that both of us decided to come down as we supposed to meet the others by 11am. We were stuck in the crowd coming down for almost 1 hour 20 minutes. At one point it was not moving. Gulp! But finally Winny and I managed to brave through using the centre lane and finally we were at the foot of the magnificent cave. I went to the bridge and took some more photos as the parade was not over. There are more devotees walking through to pay their vows under the scorching sun.
she was smiling while walking towards the entrance of Batu caves
3 kavadi bearer siting down to adjust their kavadi
the boys that basically ignite the spirit of the devotee with their significant music play

ripping of the coconut using his teeth only

time to go home
Thank you MSS2013 for making me feel so touched, realized and humble with anticipation on this very day. I will sure to come back next year and try to capture more of Thaipusam moment. For those of you out there who want to capture this moment like I did, you may opt to take the  train to Batu Caves Komuter as certain roads will be closed on that day. But if you planned to just visit on a normal day, you may drive and park your car inside. Be amazed, be amused, be inspired and most importantly love your life and make it interesting. So come, bring along your family, friends from local or even abroad and visit this legendary God's creation cave to believe it yourself!


hlga said...

nice one devi!
memang acara semacam thaipusam ini memberikan banayak pelajaran buat kita bahwa untuk menginginkan sesuatu kepada TUuhan diperlukan pengorbanan yang besar


Anonymous said...

Agree. It's an indiscribable experience!

winny said...

Uma Devi..
its great photoes and story
i like it and proud did it with u :)

winny said...

nice phootess uma im proud of u

Ericka Abdullah said...

Heeyy Devii..
You know we were together, then I lost both of you gals..
and I didn't have any idea abt the festival meant .. only from googling

but now.. I really get the point, and dunno how to say... almost drop my tears reading your story

hehehe.. or am kinda too sentimental person, but for sure you have good words about this!

Ramble and Wander said...

Phwoarrr! Awesome story, Devi. Real awesome.


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