I am #blessed to be in Kuala Lumpur not only over Chinese New Year but also Thaipusam. Celebrations at Batu Caves are an amazing experience. The entrance of the cave has a stunning gold statue of the Lord Murugan the Hindu God of War. There are happy monkeys being fed and trying to snatch onto anything you’re not holding on tight.
The night before Thaipusam Hindus gather at the Sri Mahamariaman Temple along Jalan Tun HS Lee (Chinatown/Petaling Street area). There was vibrant energy all around.
From there they will leave around midnight on a 15 kilometer (approximately 8 hour) walk towards the Batu Caves where they will arrive the next morning. The devotees practice Kavadi which is a physical burden through which they implore for help from the God Murugan. They prepare by cleansing themselves through prayer and fasting approximately 48 days before Thaipusam. Kavadi-bearers have to perform elaborate ceremonies. They observe celibacy and take only pure, Savik food, once a day, while continuously thinking of God. On the day of the festival, devotees will shave their heads and engage in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of burdens which may be as simple as carrying a pot of milk or more intense as to mortificatin of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers.
The trip culminates in the flight of 272 steps to the cave entrance. It is said that well over a million people visit the Batu Caves during Thaipusam, so be prepared for a very crowded, hectic and sometimes even claustrophobic experience. I did not attend this portion of the festivities but have another Remote who is an amazing photographer (Jay Dred) who is OK with people using his photos.