Devotees throng Batu Caves for Thaipusam
KUALA LUMPUR: Thousands of Hindu devotees thronged Batu Caves, the focal point of the Thaipusam festival on Tuesday where they were joined by local and foreign tourists.
Around the Śrī Subramaniam Devasthanam and Kuil Śrī Subramaniyar Swami temples massive crowds were standing close as the kavadi procession marched this morning.
One visitor, S. Tangaveelu, 61, said he made it a point to come to Batu Caves during Thaipusam.
"I've been here many times already. It used to be not as crowded as it is today. Ten years ago, those who came here were mostly Hindus.
"Now, everybody is here...the Indians, Malays, Chinese and foreign tourists, which is good. Better still, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is also here. What we are seeing is the spirit of 1Malaysia," he told Bernama.
Tangaveelu, who came from Port Dickson with his family, said he was pleased to see there was mutual respect for the cultures of the various races in the country.
Jagjit Singh, 70, a Sikh, said he comes to Batu Caves almost every year to witness the celebration.
"I love to see the celebrations of different cultures and religions," he said.
A tourist from China, David Yan, 40, described Thaipusam as an impressive and unique festival.
"It's amazing and I feel good; I can see how they pray to God. I love to see the culture. I love to see their make-up, the people and all the materials that they bring," he said. "In China we don't have this kind of festival."
Another tourist, Jonnathan Weathertly, 46, from Britain, who came to Batu Caves to accompany his Hindu wife, said he was excited for the opportunity to join the celebration.
"I take this opportunity to spend my time with my beloved wife and learn about her beautiful culture and customs, and today, you can see that I'm wearing yellow to support my wife," he said.
A member of the kavadi procession, K. Gnangiri, 27, said the procession was to show their gratitude to Lord Murugan for having fulfilled their wish.
"There are other ways to show our gratitude, like walking barefooted from the temple in Jalan Petaling to Batu Caves, shaving our heads or carrying the milk pots or pal kudam and climbing up the 272 stairs to the Śrī Subramaniyar Swami temple," he said.
He said the kavadi can be 50 kg to 80 kg in weight and decorated according to the creativity of the carriers.
In IPOH, more than 20,000 Hindu devotees have thronged the Arul Subramaniar temple, located at the Gunung Cheruh limestone hill near Medan Istana, since Monday evening.
Various events were held, including a procession, with devotees carrying the statue of Lord Murugan from the Śrī Maha Mariamman temple in Sungai Pari.
There was a carnival-like atmosphere at the Arul Subramaniar temple, with colourful stalls set up to sell clothing, toys and food. There were also stalls providing free drinks.
In JOHOR BARU, thousands of kavadi carriers took part in processions in various parts of the state, including at the Arulmigu Thendayuthapani temple in Jalan Kuel in Johor Baharu, Śrī Bala Subramaniar Kovil temple in Batu 10 in Skudai and at the Kuil Śrī Subramaniam Paripalana Saba temple in Masai.
In GEORGE TOWN, more than 100,000 Hindus and tourists were at Jalan Kebun Bunga to smash coconuts in conjunction with Thaipusam.
The road heading towards the Śrī Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani temple was flooded with visitors watching the procession of chariots and kavadi.
"People from all over the country come here and the number is increasing every year. This shows that Penang is a popular spot to celebrate the festival."
Courtesy: The Star Online of 7 February, 2012