Photoblog: Colours of Thaipusam

Devotees climb up the 272 steps to the Batu Caves temple during the Thaipusam celebrations on January 27, 2013.

Hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims thronged the Sri Subramanian temple in Batu Caves to fulfil their spiritual obligations during Thaipusam celebration on January 27, 2013.

The religious festival is celebrated as a thanksgiving to the Hindu deity Lord Murugan on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January or February).

A cleansing ritual is carried first by devotees who gathered at the riverside of the nearby Sungai Batu before they make their way barefoot up the steep 272-steps that lead to the cave temple.

Various acts of devotion were carried out such as the carrying of kavadi and pal kudam (milk pot) on their heads.

For many devotees who carried out sacrificial acts for prayers answered or to fulfill vows made to Lord Murugan, they had their bodies attached with hooks and needles or their cheeks and tongues pierced with skewers.

Kavadi-bearers had to observe a strict abstinence and fasting for a minimum of 40 days, with one vegetarian meal a day in order to undertake the pilgrimage to the temple.

The colourful procession of kavadi-bearers were accompanied by the loud chanting of “Vel Vel” and rhythmic drum beats of urumee melam (musical troupes) adding colours, smells and sounds to the festivities.

Devotees paying homage to Lord Murugan at the Batu Caves Hindu temple during Thaipusam celebrations.
The Lord Murugan golden statue at 42.7 metre (140 ft) high stands majestically above all at Batu Caves.
The large crowd at the main gate or entrance arch of Batu Caves during the Thaipusam celebrations.
Devotees take a ritual bath by the riverside or a shower before they start their pilgrimage to the Batu Caves temple.
A devotee taking a ritual shower before he starts his pilgrimage to the Batu Caves Temple while his wife waits by the side with a tower.
Kavadis bearing statues of Lord Murugan and decorated with peacock feathers make their way slowly from the riverside to the Batu Caves temple.
Devotees wear yellow clothes while carrying pal kudam (pots of milk) as a form of thanksgiving to Lord Murugan.
A devotee carrying pal kudam accompanied by mum who offers support.
A devotee carrying oranges with hooks pierced on his back to offer penance.
 
A devotee carrying coconuts with hooks pierced on his back to offer penance.
A devotee with long chains and hooks pierced into his back and pulled by another person walking behind.
A devotee in spiritual trance had his cheek and tongue pierced through with a skewer.
Thousands of devotees inside the Batu Caves during the Thaipusam celebrations.
Devotees offer prayers at the temple on the top ground of Batu Caves.

 

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