Let’s get some intro from wikipedia about Thaipusam…
* Thaipusam (Tamil: தைப்பூசம்) is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (Jan/Feb). It is also referred to as Thaipooyam or Thaippooyam in the Malayalam language. Pusam refers to a star that is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates both the birthday of Murugan (also Subramaniam), the youngest son of Shiva and Parvati, and the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a vel (spear) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman.
Since school day I was mixed with many Indian friends. From text book it reads Thaipusam is the most celebrated ceremony by Malaysian Hindu community. Not forget to mention the great Batu Caves which has been trademark with this event.Every year millions of people would travel from far (even oversea) to devote their faith in god at Batu Caves. Massive crowd will cause closure of traffic for devotee activities.
The most amazing scene would be piercing skin, tongue or cheeks by devotees. Many will come by offering milk as well.
I decided to open my eyes in this year Thaipusam celebration at Batu Caves. Although I have to wake up early and go into traffic jam, congested parking and slow crowd… Nothing can beat my passion although I’m not a devotee. The celebration even attracts international tourist and reporter to film it every year. Instead of view in from TV, why not experience it live in own country?
I was going alone. It would be cool if my Indian friend can be with me. To beat the traffic I ride motorcycle to Batu Caves. At breath I find parking and arrive closely to main entrance. The devotees were carrying massive kavadi and with pierces on their body. Some hang fruits on their body, from small oren to as big as coconut. They are in trance mode and might not conscious. I observe from a close range and not blocking their movement. They dance, sing and shouting ‘vel vel’ (which mean spear) all the way up to the cave. You might notice different type of kavadis and gods carry by devotees. The huge kavadi would have difficulty passing the arch near stair case. Nothing can beat them. By carrying at least 30kg kavadi, the carrier bend his body to 45 degree and go pass the arch. Awaiting ahead are 272 steps. They cheers all the way up, of course with little break in between and kavadi always display in straight and high. Other devotees would continue motivate the kavadi carrier and massage their leg when needed. It wouldn’t take long for them to reach to top.
When they reach to the hill top temple, it is very emotional time. Their actions and language simply beyond human being. After praying, the kavadi carrier would be calm down and look exhausted immediately. The power of religion and dedication. Removal pierces from devotee body which flushes out my tears with respect same time.
From 7-11am it passed so quickly. There is so much to see and understand further which you might not believe it. Definitely it is very valuable visit and good time for me.
Some good notes from Melvin Foo, photokaki.com on Thaipusam photography.
1) becareful of your belongings, crowded ppl
2) bring water, your body needs it.
3) travel light if can.
4) respect the people and the god.. its religious event
5) watch your surrounding, cos you might get hit by the devotees as they are in trance mode.
6) say hi to photogs u met or smile at them. 🙂
7) be thankful.
8) remember to share in pk.
9) have fun.
-wide to cover the subject with background
-tele some closeup or bath scenes
-50mm to some some close up
-any other that can do wonders, its your choice..
-you might need it