Thaipusam is a colourful annual celebration in honour of the Hindu god Subramanian, with festivities mainly taking place in Batu Caves – a limestone hill with a series of caverns and temples about 13km north of Kuala Lumpur. It is a famous festival largely because of the practice of devotees who impale their bodies with long metal skewers during the event.
Overview about Thaipusam festival
Celebrated by the city’s Tamil Indian community, Thaipusam is one of the best times to visit Batu Caves. 272 stairs lead to the top and just inside the front door, piles of stone slabs have fashioned out a sort of Norman arch that frames a giant, granite-carved statue of Lord Subramanian. Inside the caves are more exquisitely carved Hindu guardian figures; some statues at Batu Caves, like the four-armed depiction of Prithvi, look deeply peaceful while others (such as the giant, green-skinned Lord Hanuman) are intimidating.
Information about the festival
Thaipusam takes place between January and February, with thousands of devotees attending each year. The event is not restricted solely to Hindus – you will see plenty of tourists merrily snapping pictures: in fact, the warmth and hospitality you encounter here will make you want to never go back.
The Thaipusam festivities actually take place over three days. They start out in the wee hours of the morning (04:00) with a procession from Sri Mahamariamman Temple – Kuala Lumpur’s oldest Hindu temple – in Chinatown. Carrying a golden chariot with a statue of Lord Subramanian, it is accompanied by several hundred worshippers and arrives at Batu Caves by noon. This is when the revelry really gets started…