Friday, 1 February 2013

Thaipusam in Malaysia

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival that is celebrated on the 10th month of the Hindu calendar and falls in January or February each year in our lunar calendar. It is a day of forgiveness and thanksgiving for the Hindus, celebrated in honour of Lord Murugan (also known as Lord Subramaniam).

One of the devotees with metal spikes across his mouth and forehead.

Devotees piercing their flesh and carrying colourful ‘kavadis’ were a common sight in the annual festival held at Batu Caves, some 10 kms from Kuala Lumpur city centre. More than a million people, most of them visitors and tourists, came to watch the week-long celebration at the popular Hindu cave temple. Home to the world’s largest statue of Lord Murugan, the Batu Caves have become one of the world’s most spectacular places to witness Thaipusam.

Devotees and visitors climbing up the 272 stairs to the cave temple.

Devotees who took part in the festival prepared themselves by cleansing their bodies by fasting and abstinence, usually observing a vegetarian diet for a certain period of time. On the eve of the festival, the image of Lord Murugan, on a bejewelled silver chariot, was pulled along by two bulls. As the traditional abode of Lord Murugan is a hill or mountain, the grand procession, which began at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Bandar Road, Kuala Lumpur, concluded at Batu Caves where the devotees carried the image of Lord Murugan up 272 steps to the cave temple.

The cave temple can only be reached after climbing the 272 steps of stairs.

'Kavadis' - ornate frames of semi-circular structures decorated with peacock feathers and images of deities supported by metal spikes and hooks inserted into their bodies, were carried by the devotees. Thousands of coconuts were also smashed along the route of the procession.

These boys wouldn't want to miss the chance to show their devotion to Lord Murugan.

Thaipusam is also celebrated in other cities in Malaysia such as Penang, Ipoh and Melaka but it is in Batu Caves that it is celebrated in such a grand scale that it has never failed to attract thousands of foreign travellers and tourists to this part of the world annually. 

For more information on Batu Caves and Thaipusam festival, please contact:

Tourism Malaysia Head Office 
9th Floor, No. 2 Tower 1
Jalan P5/6, Precint 5
62200 Putrajaya, MALAYSIA
Tel : +6 03 8891 8000
Email :
Tourism Infoline : 1 300 88 5050
Web :

Tourism Malaysia Selangor
6th Floor, Wisma PKPS
Persiaran Perbandaran Seksyen 14
40675 Shah Alam
Selangor, MALAYSIA
Tel : +6 03 5510 9100

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