The Colors of Thaipusam, Batu Caves 2010 (Part 2)

Posted by shloke 30 January 2010
Lord Hanuman - The Monkey God

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 9:34am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/9.0, ISO Equiv.: 100

A stunning and beautiful statue of Lord Hanuman (Hindu Monkey God). This statue is HUGE!

It's Bindi Time

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 10:12am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 200

This lady was applying bindi on her forehead.

How Do I Look?

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 10:12am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 180

Mission accomplished!

A Chinese Devotee

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 9:58am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/6.3, ISO Equiv.: 100

This Chinese guy brought along his own packet of incense for prayers.

Thaipusam: Festival of Lord Muruga

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 12:22pm
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/8.0, ISO Equiv.: 100

A towering statue of Lord Murugan. Standing at 42.7 meter (140.09 ft) high, the world's tallest statue of Murugan, a Hindu deity, is located outside Batu Caves.

The statue, which cost approximately Rupees 24 million, is made of 1550 cubic metres of concrete, 250 tonnes of steel bars and 300 litres of gold paint brought in from neighboring Thailand.

A Family Affair

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 10:43am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.3, ISO Equiv.: 200

A family of four fulfilling their wishes by offering pot of milk to Lord Muruga.

Balancing Act

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 12:06pm
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 200

Oops! The pot of milk is leaking.

High Spirited 1

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 10:37am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 800

Devotees possessed by the Hanuman deity experiences a feverous state. This lady was hissing like a monkey!

High Spirited 2

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 10:388am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 360

Blood was dripping out from her mouth. I think the Chinese man was a bit scared :)

Perseverance Pays Off

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 10:48am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 100

Devotees fast for many days before walking up 272 steeps stairs up to the cave. Amazing!

Going UP!

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 11:09am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 800

She was one of the best dressed gal!

FINALLY! 10 More Steps

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 10:50am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 180

Faithful devotees carry Pal Kudam (milk pots) as their offering to the Lord Muruga.

This is my very first Thaipusam celebration. The atmosphere is AWESOME! An out of this world experience.

You Can Do It!

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 10:44am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 100

A lady working her way up - 272 step stairway.

Going Down

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 12:13pm
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/9.0, ISO Equiv.: 100

This is one of my favorite picture! Nice dhoti dress :)

Hands Off My Bag!!

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 12:14pm
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.3, ISO Equiv.: 280

I think this lady was scared of mylo :)

We Are Brothers & Sisters

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 12:11pm
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/7.1, ISO Equiv.: 100

I noticed many devotees were dressed for the occasion.

Once Upon A Time...

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 12:34pm
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 200

The storyteller? Nah....she was explaining the price to her customer. A street hawker selling trinkets and bracelets.

Blessing

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 10:00am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 800

A priest listening to an old lady. She was mumbling something. Perhaps asking for specific blessing from the priest.

Three Empty Pots

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 11:35am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 900

Stumbled upon three mini pots at the inner cave. I LOVE this close-up shot.

HOORAY! It's Merry-Go-Round

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 9:36am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/10, ISO Equiv.: 100

I wanna play!

WOW! It's Fiesta Time!

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 9:28am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/8.0, ISO Equiv.: 100

I was really surprised to see a funfair at Batu Caves! It must a vibrant festival during nighttime.

It's Funfair Time!

Location: Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Date: 27th January 2010 (Wednesday), 9:24am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/9.0, ISO Equiv.: 100

This picture reminds me of Coney Island.


It was virtually impossible finding a parking space at Batu Caves during the celebration of Thaipusam. Luckily, I found a nice parking slot next to the funfair rides. It was a perfect day for photography - with excellent blue sky and small clutches of white cloud.

I would really LOVE to visit Thaipusam on the 30th January 2010 (Saturday) to witness the grand celebration. But, I'm an agoraphobic dude. I'm scared of big crowd in public spaces. So, I only visited the pre Thaipusam celebration at Batu Caves on the 27th January 2010. It was still an AMAZING EXPERIENCE!

This is my fourth visit to Batu Caves. On my latest trip, I discovered some positive transformation in Batu Caves. The pavement leading to the caves has been recently extensively renovated. Several new buildings have been added. Kudos to Selangor state government, Tourism Malaysia and local council for making Batu Caves a perfect tourist destination.

I've spent almost five hours documenting the pre Thaipusam celebration at Batu Caves. At first, I visited the two main temples at Batu Caves. The first temple is located at the left side. It has beautiful gold colored domes. Next to the temple, you can see a towering statue of Lord Hanuman. Lord Hanuman is the Hindu Monkey God. This gigantic statue is BEAUTIFUL & STUNNING! The green colored muscled statue reminds me of The Incredible Hulk!

Next, I visited the Thaipusam carnival at the car park. There are over 80 stalls selling Indian sweets, murukkus, drinks, religious books and trinkets, food and many more. This carnival looks like a mini Deepavali celebration. Love the vibrant atmosphere. In addition, there are fun fair rides for children and adults. The entrance to the fun fair was locked. I guess the rides are only available by nighttime.

Later, I proceeded to the second temple located next to the staircase of Batu Caves. There were many devotees praying in the temple. I removed my shoes and walked into the temple. The high priest was chanting some prayers. At the same time, he was applying bindi to devotees. I walked closer to snap some pictures.

One of the high priest signaled to me asking me to move closer to him. He wanted to apply bindi to my forehead. I rejected him politely. I'm a nonbeliever and a humanist. Interestingly, few others high priests in Batu Caves also gestured to me for their blessings. That's really odd. Do I look like an Indian? Strange....

After that, I climbed up 272 steps up to the top of the cave. Along the way, I chanced upon more than 50 milk and kavadi bearers. These devotees decided to fulfill their wishes earlier to avoid the Saturday Thaipusam crowd. The devotees may look tired due to weeks of fasting. But they were high spirited. Most of them (almost 90%) were wearing yellow colored clothes. Yellow is Lord Murugan favorite color.

According to Wikipedia, 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. The word Thai-pusam is derived from the month name Thai and Pusam, which 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 god Shiva and his wife Parvati, and the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a vel (spear) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaipusam

On the Thaipusam day, most devotees of Lord Murugan offer him fruits and flowers of yellow or orange color - his favorite colors and also adorn dresses of the same color. Many devotees bear milk, water, fruits and floral tributes on pails hung from a yoke and carry them on their shoulders to various Murugan temples, far and near. This wooden or bamboo structure called 'Kavadi' is covered with cloth and decorated with feathers of peacock - the vehicle of Lord Murugan. Source: About Hinduism

I do not feel embarrass at all taking street pictures. There were plenty of photographers at Batu Caves - amateur and pro players. I even saw a TV crew from TV3.

Overall, it was an unforgettable trip. The colors of the celebration is simply breathtaking! A visit to Batu Caves during Thaipusam is highly recommended.

Stay tune for Part 3 for more pictures and travelogues!

Last updated 30th January 2010 (10:06p.m.)

Batu Caves - Getting There:

Batu Caves is located in Gombak district, which is accessible through Jalan Kuching and Middle Ring Highway. The easiest way to get to Batu Caves is to take the KTM commuter train from KL Sentral station to the Sentul Station.

Otherwise you can catch a bus from downtown KL, click here for more info on buses to Batu Caves.

During Thaipusam, there are many public buses that take you there from Puduraya and Kotaraya. Just look out for signs indicating Batu Caves. The LRT and KTM also operates till late to accommodate passengers.

For more information, call KTM at +6 03 2267 1200 or visit http://www.ktmb.com.my/

Batu Caves - Google Maps:


Batu Caves & Thaipusam - Read More/Useful Links:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batu_Caves (Wikipedia Article About Batu Caves)
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaipusam (Wikipedia Article About Thaipusam)
  3. http://www.journeymalaysia.com/MCUL_thaipusam.htm (Article From Journey Malaysia)
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanuman (Wikipedia Article About Lord Hanuman)
  5. http://tinyurl.com/ycbslxo (Read All My Articles About Batu Caves)
  6. http://hinduism.about.com/od/pongal/a/thaipusam.htm (Thaipusam: The Murugan Festival)

11 comments

  1. Nice experience! I told my wife i wanna visit the place, however the idea had been rejected, hehehehe !

     
  2. Cath J Says:
  3. Beautiful photos..

     
  4. shloke Says:
  5. Kai & Baobei

    There is still time to visit Batu Caves!! The Thaipusam celebration has been extended. This is the BEST time to visit Batu Caves :) Try to re-convince her!

    Cath J

    Thanks!

    Cheers!
    mylo

     
  6. Cas Says:
  7. Gorgeous photos! Love em all :)

     
  8. fufu Says:
  9. bring me there mylo!!!! not for thaipusam but batu caves itself =p

     
  10. micki Says:
  11. Hi, Mylo I really enjoy reading your blog. The photos are excellent! I like the way you post your camera information for each image. The Monkey God looks so interesting with the green body and face! Thanks!

     
  12. eunice Says:
  13. Is that real blood dripping from the woman's mouth? Mind boggling!

    I went Batu Caves more than 10yrs ago! Hate climbing long flight of stairs and the most sensational part of it was walking down the small steps!

     
  14. You can't be agoraphobic if you want to see London's festivals! Just imagine all people are dead in your mind. ;-)

    I thought you spend your childhood in KL Chinatown. Where did you get your agoraphobia?

     
  15. shloke Says:
  16. Cas & Micki

    Welcome to my photo and travel blog!

    I've seen bloggers putting basic picture details in their postings. It's a great idea. I just follow suit :)

    Lord Hanuman (Hindu Monkey God) is beautiful - with fine details and excellent coloration! You'll LOVE it! Remember to visit us next year to see the grand Thaipusam celebration in ACTION.

    Eunice

    It's R.E.A.L! I think the devotee pierced her tongue before the ceremony.

    Wah! 10 years back?? You gotta revisit Batu Caves! The celebration is GRANDER & BIGGER in size :)

    LOL! Sensational...walking down the stairs :)

    1ondoncaller

    I know :) Actually I'm OK with smaller to medium sized crowd or human gathering.

    I managed to cover 1 Malaysia Christmas Day Open House in Central Market (two months ago). But.....Thaipusam....over hundreds of thousands of people at any time!!! That's really INSANE :)

    Anyway, I'll overcome my agoraphobia next year. Everything will be fine!

    Sigh....I'm also a shy guy :)

    Cheers to all!
    mylo

     
  17. Shelyn Says:
  18. Is the fun fair still there? I have been waiting for the fun fair to come to KL! Always don't know what to do in the weekend nights.

     
  19. shloke Says:
  20. Shelyn

    I don't think so. Weekend nights for me is to catch up all my blog rolls :)

    Cheers!
    mylo

     
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Traveling & photography are the most rewarding & enriching experiences in my life. Photography is all about discovery, enjoying myself, having adventure, learning people & nature. The greatest experience for me is the connection I felt with NATURE. If you haven’t seen Malaysia, you haven’t seen the world! My photography works are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.
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