Jan 2018 - Thaipusam

Thaipusam 2018





Exceptionally, this year the Thaipusam tour took place on the day before the actual celebration to avoid the crowds at Batu Caves. It was a great idea, since we got to see and experience all the different important areas for this festivity, with not too many people around, but immersed in the feeling and excitement of the devotees nonetheless.

We were a very adequate group (15 members), which allowed us to stay together almost all the time, making it easier for our fantastic guide, Cheryl, to share her deep knowledge efficiently with us. Among the group there were quite a few new members, and for some, it was the first time in Batu Caves. But even if the others had been previously to the site, as was my case, this tour was all the more interesting because we visited areas that would not be included in a normal visit to the caves (the river, for instance: I had no idea that it was such an important area for the devotees).

Once we all found each other, and the group was ready to start, Cheryl explained the history of Lord Murugan, and the relation between the deity and the festivity of Thaipusam. Being already immersed in the history, we then went to visit the river bank, where the devotees prepare themselves and start their procession with the “kavadi” (physical burden). Surrounded by a large number of priests offering their services to the devotees, we could see devotees of all ages, whole families getting ready together with their milk pots, and some more special ones, like the one on the photo attached. It was a beautiful scene, filled with the music of the drummers accompanying the devotees. The yellow color was everywhere: devotees dressed in yellow tunics, male and female devotees with shaved heads painted in golden, flower offerings stalls, etc.

We then moved to the temple, going up the stairs, along with the devotees: ones carrying the milk pots, others carrying their babies, and others, carrying their large kavadis. Once we arrived at the cave, Cheryl explained the ceremony that takes place when the kavadi arrives, and we could see the devotees that had been getting ready by the river, arriving and offering their peregrination. It was definitely a very special visit to a very interesting site.

Because it had been a hot day, and because the visit took us around 2 hours (everybody was enjoying it so much nobody complained), the group then moved to have a definitely well deserved lunch at one of the restaurants at the base of the mountain, before going back to our homes.


A huge thank you to Cheryl for an exquisite tour!



Isabel de Laiglesia