February 3, 2010

Colourful and lively Thaipusam celebration at Batu Caves

More than a million Hindu devotees converged at the Sri Subramaniyar Swami Temple in Batu Caves to pay homage to deity Lord Murugan and to receive his blessings of a healthy and fruitful life during the holy festival of Thaipusam (Tamil: தைப்பூசம்) on Saturday 30th January 2010.

Devotees fulfilled their vows by carrying decorated pot of milk (pal kudam) on their heads or colourful kavadi adorned with peacock feathers, flowers and velvet furnishing.

Mai Tomyam joined the devotees at Batu Caves to take pictures of the festivities around the Batu Caves temple areas.

For the many foreign tourists present, it was a truly spectacular and awe inspiring event. An experience they would never forget.

Thaipusam is a celebration of the victory of Murugan over the evil demon Soorapadman in the Tamil month of Thai (January – February) and the day of the star Pusam around Pournami (Full Moon), hence the celebration as Thai Pusam.

A young devotee carried the pal kudam (milk offering) at Batu Caves on Thaipusam day.

Devotees carried the decorated milk pot pal kudam (milk offering) on their heads to fulfill the vows.

A colourful display of the various kavadis making their way to the cave temple.

Devotees carried kavadis to fulfill vows made to Lord Muruga for answering their prayers.

Devotees take a vow to dedicate a kavadi to Lord Murugan.

A devotee carrying a kavadi decorated with peacock feathers.

Groups of musicians and drummers added to the carnival feel.

A devotee in trance like moments. Chants of ‘vel, vel’ filled the air as kavadi carriers moved towards the cave temple.

Devotees offered prayers at the nearby Sungai Batu river in Batu Caves before making their way to the cave temple.

Devotees taking a shower to symbolize purification before the ritual of prayers and blessing.

A boy getting his head shaved as an act of devotion to Lord Murugan.

A devotee pulled a chariot as he moved along towards the cave temple.

A devotee with long chains and hooks pierced into the skin of his back and pulled by another walking behind. This is economical for those who can’t afford a mini-chariot which can be very expensive.

Fishing hooks are attached into the back of a devotee.

Devotees pierced their bodies with hooks apparently without pain.

It is the faith that matters. Endurance and sacrifices by a devotee.

Tens of oranges and apples with fishing hooks are pierced into the back of a devotee.

A devotee pierced with hooks holding coconuts. Amazing!

A devotee pierced with hooks holding limes.

A skewer that goes into the tongue.

A woman devotee with a long skewer pierced through her cheeks carried the 'pal kudam' (milk offering) on her head.

A devotee is pierced with two skewers; one through the tongue and another through the cheeks.

The devotees do not feel any pain as they are in a spiritual trance.

Stream of devotees and kavadi carriers making their way up the 272-steps of the Batu Caves temple to fulfill their vows.

A kavadi carrier making his way up the steps of the Batu Caves temple to fulfill his vow.

Devotees dressed in the traditional yellow garment which symbolized purification walking up the 272-steps to the Batu Cave temple.

A number of Chinese devotees as well as other religious people and even other races offering prayers and fulfilling their vows.

An Australian devotee Carl Vadivella Belle was the centre of attraction at Batu Caves as he was a foreigner who took part in the Hindu festival of Thaipusam by carrying a kavadi.

Carl Vadivella Belle who is a popular figure at Batu Caves is surrounded by a crowd of people wanting him to take their photos together.

The imposing statue of Lord Murugan standing tall at 42.7m at Batu Caves. Tens of thousands of people pay homage to Lord Murugan at the Sri Subramaniyar Swami Temple in Batu Caves.

Inside the Batu Caves temple :

Crowded cave:
The temple cave was filled to the brim with devotees and tourists.

The crowd of devotees and kavadis inside the Batu Caves temple. It was a relief to reach the cool darkness of the caves.

A most spectacular scene with devotees in the thousands jamming around the temple.

Thousands of devotees offering prayers to Lord Muruga at the main cave.

Hindu priests giving those white powder to devotees to be put on their foreheads.

Removal of Skewers:

A devotee had his long skewer removed from his cheeks.

Holy ashes are then sprinkled on the pierced flesh.

A yellow cloth is then tied over his mouth. The skewer had been removed. He did not bleed from his wounds and have no scars left behind.

The Sri Subramaniyar Swami Temple inside the top ground of Batu Caves is crowded wiith devotees offering prayers.

A back view of the Sri Subramaniyar Swami Temple.

Devotees’ offerings filled with incense, camphor and coconut.

Statue of Lord Murugan :
The 140-feet (42.7 metres) high Lord Murugan statue by the foot of the 272-steps to Batu Caves. The statue is the tallest in the world. Devotees offer prayers or give thanks to Lord Muruga, also known as Lord Subramanian who represents virtue, youth and power.

The towering golden statue costs RM2.5 million and is made from 1,550 cubic metres of concrete, 250 tonnes of steel bars and 300 litres of gold paint brought in from Thailand.

Lord Murugan, the thought of His Holiness brings grace, courage, a smile and tenderness in the look and heart - quote by Trsmd.

A big signboard welcomes Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's historic visit to Batu Caves on Thaipusam eve.

Stall owners in the vicinity of Batu Caves hung banners to welcome Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's visit to Batu Caves on Thaipusam eve.

A Fiesta Batu Caves banner hung underneath the MRR2 bridge outside Batu Caves. The fiesta was a Selangor state sponsored event to attract foreign tourists to Batu Caves. The programme was scheduled to begin on Thaipusam eve at 8pm and carried on till midnight.

A stunning and beautiful green statue of Lord Hanuman, the Hindu Monkey God, located on the left side of the entrance to the caves.

The towering statute of Lord Hanuman as seen from the temple located on the left side of Batu Caves.

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