Thaipusam festival is dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Murugan (also known as Lord Subramaniam), which is a public holiday to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, where it takes place on a grand scale at Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple, Batu Caves that is placed just outside Kuala Lumpur.
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Thaipusam in Malaysia is one of the Hindu celebrations in the country and the biggest festival in the world dedicated to the Hindu god Murugan. Thaipusam is mainly celebrated on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February) and the celebration is recognised as a public holiday in the states of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Penang, Johor, and Selangor.
The Thaipusam festival mainly commemorates the birthday of Lord Murugan, the occasion when his mother, Devi Parvathy, gave him a lance so he could triumph over the evil demon. Millions of Hindu devotees from all around the globe take part in one of the world’s most passionate spiritual celebrations every year at various temples across the nation to celebrate it and making Thaipusam wishes.
Outside Malaysia, Thaipusam celebrations take place in the United States of America, Mauritius, India and Singapore. Many Hindu devotees consider Thaipusam festival to be an expression of loyalty and devotion between human beings and the gods. The celebration could also be regarded as a form of thanksgiving for every good fortune and prayers that the gods had answered.
Traditionally, participants of Thaipusam festival will offer their lord some gifts, such as orange and yellow flowers. Similarly, Thaipusam in the modern era is a combination of a religious offering of fruits and milk as well as the eye-popping ritual of body piercing.
At Thaipusam Batu Caves, visitors can witness the devotees paying homage to their lord by piercing their bodies with the kavadis (sharp cages of metal skewers or spikes) and climb up the 272 stairs to Cave Temple at the top of Batu Caves.
Those who have decided to carry the kavadis will need to go on a heavily restricted diet and completely fast on a few days before the Thaipusam festival. The kavadis are usually decorated with fruits and some devotees would add extra weight with heavy pitchers of milk.
Even though a kavadi carrier can have many spears piercing his skin, interestingly he only loses a small amount of blood. Once at the temple, the kavadis are offered to Lord Murugan, while the sami (Indian monks) will chant the Hindu prayers out loud. Once prayers are completed, those with skewers attached to their bodies will have them removed and their wounds would be treated with lemon juice and holy ash.
If you cannot wait to experience and witness how the Hindu community celebrate Thaipusam in Malaysia, here are the right places for you to visit:
Batu Caves is located about 13 km north of Kuala Lumpur city centre. Every year, more than a million people will visit the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple during Thaipusam festival so that they would not miss out on experiencing one of the largest religious gatherings ever held in Malaysia. If travellers plan to go to this location during Thaipusam 2019, they are advised to use public transportation to avoid traffic congestion.
For a person with a fear of being in large crowds, getting into the city of Georgetown in Penang would be a great choice. With a smaller crowd that celebrates the Thaipusam festival in the city, Nattukottai Chettiar Temple offers almost the same level of excitement for those who are visiting with no less colourful enjoyment. Being in the magnificent town of Georgetown would allow travellers to get the chance to explore the city to the fullest after attending the celebration. Both local and international tourists would be amazed by the delicious cuisines and well-built historical sites available in the city.
You don't necessarily have to be in India to see a Thaipusam festival. Another great location to visit during Thaipusam 2019 in the country is the royal city of Ipoh, Perak. With a large Hindu community living in the city, Kallumalai Arul Migu Subramaniar Temple is famous with its must-see Thaipusam celebration practices. During Thaipusam festival, this is also the best time for taking photos, when things are very colourful and merry at the temple. On the day of the celebration, various types of colourful kavadis would be carried by Hindus nearby the temple area that is worth seeing!
During Thaipusam Festival, expect heavy traffic on the roads as thousands of people will be travelling to get to the temples and some even taking this holiday to go for long trips across the country. All major transportation hubs, which include airports, railway stations, ferry and bus terminals will be packed with people and those who decide to drive will have to face unmoving traffic for hours.
For Thaipusam 2019, it is highly advisable for the tourists to follow some travel tips to avoid unexpected issues while they are on their journey. Travellers should especially book their flight, ferry, bus or train tickets as early as possible before the official day of Thaipusam festival to avoid facing the hassle. For those travelling long-distance with their vehicles, make sure to wear comfortable clothing for a convenient trip.
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Remember to book the tickets much earlier before the celebration day to avoid any unexpected issues. Look out for deals on Easybook’s official website and follow our social media pages for updates. Wait no more and give yourself a chance to capture beautiful moments on Thaipusam by booking a trip with us now!