Wednesday, 30 April 2008

THAIPUSAM AND LORD MURUGAN featuring SJ PHOTOGRAPHY

Some bloggers friends commented that they could not view the pictures, so I have uploaded the entire set again. If you fail to see it again, please let me know.
I love this header photo by Dennis G. Jarvis, with the background of Tibet. How I wish I could take such picture..but then I got to find that yak first. That and Tibet.

Malaysian Indians are the 3rd largest ethnic groups here where most of them are largely descendants from South India, migrated here during the British ruling of then Malaya. THAIPUSAM is celebrated by Hindu Indians on the 23rd of January this year. Next to Deepavali (festivals of lights), Thaipusam is the most elaborate and colourful celebration here for the Indians. It is time to pay homage to Lord MURUGAN, the most popular Hindu deity among south Indians. He is also the God of War and reference of him had been traced back to the first millenium BCE. We have the tallest Lord Murugan statue in the world. Standing at 42.7 m (130 feet) high, it took 3 years of construction and unveiled in January 2006. It stands tall just outside Batu Caves (Limestone cave)which is 400 years old and have at least 1.5 millions of pilgrimage every year. Patrons goes through strict religious fasting and prayers to enable them to perform or endure unbelievable sacrifices. Hooks, spears or many other type of ornaments on any part of the body. Many do it to fulfil a vow or to give thanks to Lord Murugan. I will post some of the colourful feasts and the 'milder' pictures of sacrifices as I am sure most have not seen them. Most pilgrims will have to walk the 272 steps to the Cave where most of the prayers are done. Pictures are courtesy of SJ PHOTOGRAPHY, used with permission and thank you SJ for sharing :)

Murugan is venerated through out the Tamil year. There is a six day period of fast and prayer in the Tamil month of Aippasi known as the Skanda Shasti. He is worshipped at Thaipusam, celebrated by Tamil communities worldwide near the full moon of the Tamil month Thai. This commemorates the day he was given a Vel or lance by his mother in order to vanquish the demons. Vaikasi Visakam or the full moon of the Tamil month of Vaikasi signifies his birth. Each Tuesday of the Tamil month of Adi is also dedicated to the worship of Murugan. Tuesday in the Hindu tradition connotes Mangala, the god of planet Mars and war. This reveals the link between Skanda and Kujan (Mangala). For more information, please go here.

The gold coated 42.7 m high of Lord Murugan. I believe this is SJ's best shot of Lord Murugan.


A devotee carrying a smaller version of Lord Murugan, called "kavadi"

A child devotee, most devotees have their heads shaven

Another kavadi bearer

For those who can't carry the kavadi or other streneous feats, they offer milk

A woman devotee with a pierced cheek, don't worry, devotees are often in a trance and well prepared for this. All of them will bear no pain and scar later too. I guess that's the power of their beliefs and prayers.

For offerings and prayers

The most common offering, garlands of flowers

Interior of Batu Caves

Indian sweets

Entrance to Batu Caves.



Go to SJ PHOTOGRAPHY to see the entire set of photos.

I was in Batu Caves yesterday for a meeting so I didn't miss the chance to take some photos. Many of the local Indians were offering me flowers, short tour and taxi service as this is one of the main tourist areas. They probably thought I was a Chinese from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand? It was extremely hot and humid, didn't help that I was wearing a blazer but I just have to have a go at the pictures, considering that I am not here often and my office is 150km away. Oh well..no harm sweating under the burning sun just to get a shot or two.
A picture of Lord Murugan, standing majestically tall at 42.7 m high, no one can miss it.

Each step numbered, all the way to the top at 272 steps. Did I climb it? Sadly, no..I didn't want to turn back halfway :(

One of the painted ceilings at the blue entrance (see picture above) of the cave.


Our Indians friends here are well known for their colourful culture and yummy hot and spicy food, I should do a post on food soon. No one can miss the local Indian breakfast and their wonderful curries served on banana leaves.

Cheers to all and till we blog again :)