Extracted from http://www.sttemple.com/STT/english/thaipusam.asp Thaipusam is a festival occurring in the Tamil month Thai (January-February), the day of the star Pusam around Pournami (Full Moon) is celebrated as Thai Pusam. It is a special day for worship of Lord Muruga (also known as Subrahmanya or Thendayuthapani, the son of Shiva ) and is celebrated in a very grand manner at all Murugan temples.
From the same website quoted above ,there are several legends of Thaipusam ( I extracted the first two, if you wish to read about the others, please visit the site)
Popular narration goes that the great Saint, Agasthya, instructed his student, Idumban to uproot two hills called Sivagiri and Shakthigiri belonging to Lord Murugan and bring it back to him. As commanded, Idumban flew to Mount Kailai Range where the hills rested and picked them up ready to fly back. But alas, Lord Murugan had other plans. He wanted to test Idumban’s mettle and devotion to his master. He reduced his size, to that of a small child and promptly stood atop one of the hills. Suddenly Idumban found that he couldn’t carry the hills anymore. To his bewilderment, a child was standing haughtily on the hill. Idumban humbly requested the boy to get down. When the child refused, Idumban flew into a rage and tried to attack him, only to find himself falling like an injured bird. Lord Murugan then reverted to his original self and appeared before Idumban. “I am pleased with your courage and determination,” he said. “Your devotion to your guru is admirable. I now bestow on you the honor of being my guardian” Lord Murugan then proclaimed that henceforth, those who carried kavadis to see him, would receive his blessings. Today, thousands of Hindus carry kavadis as offerings to the Lord during Thaipusam. The kavadis symbolize the hills of burden that Idumban shouldered.
The other version was a demon named Tharakasuran who was troubling the Rishis and Saints. Lord Muruga was called by his parents Lord Shiva and Parvati and given the job of destroying the asuran. Lord Muruga set off with the blessings of his parents, to destroy the demon. He carried twelve weapons, eleven of which were given by his father Lord Shiva and the ‘Vel’ given by his mother Parvati. Lord Muruga destroyed Tharakasuran on the Pusam Nakshatra day in the Tamil month of Thai and hence Thai Pusam is celebrated in all Murugan temples.
I wasn’t successful in ‘recruiting’ friends to go to Batu Caves to witness the Thaipusam celebration, maybe I wasn’t persuasive enough, but anyway, I have been there a few years back, so it was something like ‘don’t go also nevermind lah’. Anyway, it was a pleasant surprise that at the last minute I had a volunteer..
As this was unplanned, so we started off a bit late, it was around 10:00 when we arrive at KL Sentral, after checking with the Komuter’s personnel about KTM special train service to Batu Caves (BC) , we were told to take the train to Sentul and then take another train to BC. The fare from KL Sentral to Sentul was RM1/pax, it was crowded on the train and almost 98% of the passengers were Indians. After disembarking at Sentul (~10:30), we had to queue up and get the tickets to BC which was RM2.20/pax.
It was a festive mood at the Sentul station with Indian songs ( I can’t tell if it’s tamil or hindi) played full blast over the PA, the plastic chairs under the canopies were filled and those people like us who couldn’t get seats loiter/sat on the floor/stood around the shades.
Then someone ‘migrated’ from under the canopy to the makeshift entrance, which started the crowd to queue up ( this was around 11.00), when I checked with KTM staff, he mentioned that the train’s ETA is at 11:45am..oh ah..still a long wait…and finally, at ~ 11:50 a train arrive, and before that an officer from PDRM was ready with the loudspeaker, the Bulan Sabit Merah team were ready, the KTM staff were ready and officer asked everyone to be patient, do not push, mind the children and the elderly and don’t worry, everyone will get on the train.
It took quite a while for the passengers to disembarked and there were quite a number of bald headed men ( and not that large number of bald women), children with bright Pooh Bear /Sponge Bob/ Mickey balloons, people with peacock feathers. And then finally, the gates open and waahhh…everyone elbowed each other and run towards the train. We must have pretty strong elbows, for we even managed to get seats! The compartment was filled to the brim with both standing and seated passengers , and it was kinda stuffy as the airconditioning doesn’t seem to be able to support the crowd. The journey took us about 25 minutes. And when we arrive at BC, the pic below show the crowd that was leaving BC
After disembarking from the train , walking with the crowd towards the temple, we passed various stalls selling various stuff from clothing, jewelleries, the latest DVD from famous Tamil singer, religious figurines, food stuff, toys etc etc. It was very very crowded and very very noisy and not to mention very very warm .
(spot the burger seller hot-plate on the low right corner)
Short back and sides please..