Jan 28 2013
Thaipusam is a Hindu festival where devotees pierce their flesh and carry colourful kavadi to show their devotion to Lord Murugan. If that doesn’t sound dramatic enough, in Kuala Lumpur it takes place at the spectacular Batu Caves. Here are some images from Thaipusam 2013 (yesterday).
It’s estimated that more than a million people — devotees and tourists alike — showed up for Thaipusam 2013 celebrations in Kuala Lumpur.
Home to the world’s largest statue of Lord Murugan, the Batu Caves have become one of the world’s most spectacular places to witness Thaipusam. Devotees climb the 272 stairs to the caves which contain shrines to Hindu deities.
Many devotees make the climb while carrying “kavadi”, semi-circular structures decorated with peacock feathers and images of deities. The kavadi may weigh up to 100 kilograms and are either supported on the shoulders or by piercing the metal skewers through the carrier’s torso.
Though it’s rare to see female kavadi carriers, women show their devotion by shaving their heads, piercing their bodies and carrying pots of milk to the top of the stairs.
Traditional drummers help keep the beat and keep the Thaipusam participants energized.
The huge crowds and burdensome kavadi — combined with Kuala Lumpur’s intense afternoon heat — make the 272-step walk to the top even more exhausting than usual.
And at the end of the day, everyone needs a rest and to recharge with some vegetarian Indian food and a cold drink.
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