Landed in Kuala Lumpur on the second day of the Thaipusam Festival. Since I’ve already missed a good chunk of the activities, I wasted no time and headed out to Batu Caves after checking in at the hotel.
Batu Caves was bustling even as late into the evening with devotees and revelers. There were various carnival rides and games and lots of food.
To Get Here. Forget driving all the way to the Batu Caves, as parking can be a problem. The best way is by train. Alight at the last station (Batu Caves. 1 RM). During the festival dates the train runs for 24 hours, so getting back to the city shouldn’t be a problem if you intend on staying out late
Thaipusam is a time for penance, in a test of mind over matter. The main draw of the festival are the kavadi bearers, devotees who either drag "physical burdens" hooked to their backs or balanced on their shoulders. Some of these canopies can weigh up to 30 kgs. Equally quite a spectacle are those with face and body piercings which symbolizes Lord Murugan’s gift of a vel (spear) from his mother, Parvati. The devotees climb up the Batu Caves, all 272 steps of it, carryingtheir heavy kavadis.
See. Cleansing rituals take place on a river just near the caves across the railway track. Devotees also shower here as part of their cleansing and get their heads shaved at makeshift stalls just outside the train station.
Photography: Don’t use fill-in flash as this can be distracting to the devotees. Also no need for big long lenses as you can get really close to the participants anyway. Be mindful of your actions and be respectful at all times. Take note that this is a religious event, not a safari.
KL prepares for the Chinese Lunar New Year
Yee Sang is meant to usher in wealth and prosperity for the coming Lunar Year. It is also the name of the dish that originated in China and has become a big part of the Chinese New Year festivities in Malaysia.