Thaipusam at Batu Cave is religious festival. This is the most impressive festival out of tens of Hindu festivals that take place during the year. The festival is held once a year, in January – February, dates differ yearly according to the moon appearance of Thai month in the Tamil calendar. The festival’s events take place in Batu caves which are located on the hill in Gombak region, 13 km north to Kuala Lumpur the capital of Malaysia.
Thousands of people, local and tourists pour into Batu Caves area and the demand for accommodation is higher than usual, therefore it is advisable to check hotel prices and make reservations ahead of time.
The limestone caves function as a holy place for pilgrims and as a magnificent nature reserve. The caves were discovered in the 18th century and are called after Batu River which flows at the foot of the hill. The most important are the ”Temple Cave” and the ”Dark Cave”, but there are hundreds of small caves. Some of them are easy to approach but for visiting others, you have to get permission from Malaysian Nature Society. The ”Temple Cave” contains ritual Hindi objects.
Its convex ceiling is 100 meters (328 foot) high. Beneath it you can find the ”Dark Cave” that branches to a net of caves of more than one km (0.6 mile). In the cave the visitors can see endemic animals, art creations, statues and figures from the Hindi mythology.
The purpose of the festival is to preserve two important traditions:
1. The birth of the god Murugan, the youngest son of the God Shiva and Parvati.
2. The occasion when the god Parvati gave god Murugan a lance which allowed him to defeat evil – the evil ”Soorapadmandemon”.
A parade of million believers, penitents and devotees reach Batu caves when the festival begins. The mass gathering at the foot of the hill is magnificent. The devotees march up 272 stairs to the ”Temple Cave”. Iron rods and heavy metal hooks are stemming from their bodies. Some insert spits into their cheeks to symbol the lance that was given to Murugan. The surrealistic view of the believers’ euphoria creates a combine of wonder and distress feeling. This is an unforgettable experience which can’t be understood.