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02 February 2010

Thaipusam 2010 @ Batu Caves

By Pueh Tian

Thaipusam (Tamil: தைப்பூசம்) is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (Jan/Feb)

It was a huge celebration over at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur last Saturday. It was reported that 1.7 millions visitors turned up for the event.

There is a huge Lord Murugan statue at Batu Caves – a whopping 42.7m (130 feet high) high statue watching over the devotees.

Every year, thousands of Hindu devotees carry pal kodam (milk pots) and the kavadi up the 272 steps to the Cave Temple to fulfil vows made to Lord Murugan.

For me, it was a fantastic opportunity to snap photographs of the colourful and exotic festival. As anticipated, the crowd was huge! Drums and devotion songs filled the air.

Kavadi dancers swirled and twirled to the beat of the drums as if they were spinning out of this world!

I started to click away with my camera as soon as I entered Batu Caves compound. There were plenty of photography opportunities – The colourful sights. The dramatic movements of the devotees in trance. The elaborately decorated kavadis.

Then suddenly, I saw a white bearded man with a huge belly carrying a kavadi.

Santa?

Hahah! Sorry, it’s not Santa. Santa Claus doesn’t exist. But the kavadi was real. The Caucasian man was in front of me, carrying a huge kavadi, complete with piercings! My jaw dropped!

Wow! Thaipusam is now being celebrated not only by the Indians but by other races as well!

Then my jaw dropped the second time when I saw this little kavadi dancer!

He was amazing – dancing his way up the Batu Caves with a kavadi on his shoulders. He is 8 years old.

AirAsia’s own version of “kavadi”???

Just kidding! I spotted this while I was watching the kavadi parade from the highway in front of Batu Caves. Brilliant advertising! :)

AirAsia now is flying to 5 new cities in Incredible India – New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore!

I love the atmosphere at the Thaipusam celebration. I will definitely be back next year to climb up the 272 steps to the Cave Temple.

For those who have not been to Batu Caves, please come and experience Thaipusam. You will be blown away by the rich cultural experience like I did.

For full story, more photos and video clips, please visit my blog – Running With Passion