Batu Caves (Malaysia), Feb 9, 2017: Temples across Malaysia were filled with more than a million Hindus today to celebrate the annual Thaipusam festival. Many even pierced their bodies with hooks and skewers to show devotion to the deity Lord Murugan.
According to PTI, Massive crowds filled with devout Hindus and other enthusiasts descended on the stunning Batu Caves temple complex on the outskirts of capital Kuala Lumpur to be a part of the festival, which commemorates the day when the goddess Parvathi bestowed her son Lord Murugan with a powerful lance to fight evil demons.
With handful of gifts including milk pots and coconuts which are eventually smashed as offerings, worshippers walked barefoot up 272 steps to reach the temple which is an important religious site for Tamil Hindus.
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Many displayed their dedication by carrying heavy ornate metal structures called kavadis, affixed to their bodies with sharp metal spikes that are hammered into the skin. Some devotees looked like they were in a state of trance as they carried the kavadis, which can weigh as much as 100 kilogrammes or even more.
Some of them pierced their faces with tridents or hung multiple hooks and chains from their bodies in an act of penance.
While talking to PTI, A.Yuven, a devotee said, “My brother is carrying a kavadi today to help the family and… also for our other brother who is suffering from a neurological disorder,” as a group of men chanted prayers and percussionists encouraged and cheered.
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Prior to Thaipusam ceremony, devotees are supposed to typically join daily prayer sessions, abstain from sex and stick to a strict vegetarian diet for weeks.
“I have no special demands. I am just here to offer my prayers,” said Aiyya Valmundi, who has been participating in Thaipusam festivities for more than a decade.
Even though most of Malaysia’s roughly 31 million people are Muslim, the country has around two million ethnic Indians. Most of the Indians are descendants of laborers brought from ethnic Tamil areas of southern India by former British colonial masters of Malaysia.
Lord Murugan is particularly worshipped in southern India and among ethnic Tamil communities in South East Asia. Thaipusam is also celebrated in India and Singapore with great excitement and enthusiasm.
– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang