Monday, 14 March 2011

Hooked On...Thaipusam

Recently, we celebrated Thaipusam here in Malaysia. It's a Hindu celebration observed mainly by the Tamil community. In Kuala Lumpur, the place to view the action is the Batu Caves.

Observers pay their respects by shaving their heads and making a pilgrimage to the temple.

 Most carry a vessel of milk as their 'burden' but the more extreme practice mortification of the flesh (!!) and pierce their skin, tongue, and cheeks.

We had heard that the site of the Batu Caves gets dangerously crowded. So Mr. Happy, the Baker and I took a 6am train so we could be one of the first to arrive (baring the people who camped out overnight).

It was an amazing sight. And we got out of there before the masses started arriving and the sun was high in the sky. Here's a sample of what we saw!

Does it hurt? Yes!

The hooks they insert through the skin are similar to those used for Christmas tree decorations.

The festival didn't provide trash cans which caused a big mess.

However, Mr. Happy couldn't bring himself to tossing his Nasi Lemak container on the ground so we pushed thorough the crowds until he found a somewhat acceptable trash receptacle...

Aside from the religious festivities, there was a fair like atmosphere.

As the day wore on, the crowds increased.

Were we glad we rose before the sun to have this experience?

Of course!