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Tourism Malaysia

Thaipusam: A Walk Among Gods

Selva, a devotee, in a coma as Lord Kali, a extreme Hindu goddess

Indians a universe over have a gesticulate that, as distant as we know, is singular to them. It is a laterally lift of a chin, customarily achieved in unanimity with a play of a eyes – a long, soft blink – and an roughly inaudible lean of a shoulders. Depending on context, it can be a yes, it can be a no, it can vigilance deference, it can vigilance a preference made. But regardless of context, a receiver always understands a message.

It is with this really gesticulate that Selva snapped out of his coma as Lord Kali, a extreme Hindu goddess. We are on a banks of a Batu River, that flows within eyesight of a famous Batu Caves, and it is a day before Thaipusam. During Thaipusam, Hindu devotees will commence a eventuality from a Batu River to Batu Caves, while behaving acts of penance such as carrying a earthy weight (called a “Kavadi”), or trenchant themselves with hooks or skewers. Devotees mostly enter into trances to perform these feats of endurance, job on one of Hinduism’s 33 million deities to possess them by perplexing rituals upheld down by a generations.

Ash is sprinkled over Selva’s head, as he enters into a trance

Initiating a trance

I am examination Selva perform one such ritual. First he cleanses himself. Traditionally, devotees take a drop in a river, yet record has now authorised for a open showering complement to be commissioned on a riverbank. Then, an elaborate ceremony, conducted with a assistance of his entourage, follows, involving incense, fruits, Kumkum powder and holy ash.

Try as we may, we can't keep adult with or know a obstruction of rites. Small braziers are lit, and some of a equipment hold over a smoke. Milk is poured into dual china jars and cumulative to Selva’s Kavadi. Next to me, one of a women breaks into coma with a shriek. Another lady shortly follows suit. Amidst all this, Selva bows and touches a feet of his mother, a ultimate gesticulate of honour in Hinduism.

One of a members of Selva’s environment seems to perform a purpose of a priest, giving directions to a group. It is he who calls a coma on Selva. Selva stands before him, palms pulpy together, as he chants quietly. Ash is sprinkled over Selva’s head, and his physique starts to moving into a bow. we watch his eyes spin wild. With a scream, Selva drops to his knees, tongue out-stuck. He is Kali.

Next, a piercing. Selva’s penance this year involves trenchant his tongue. As Selva – or Lord Kali – stands, arms akimbo, staring during a mob that has shaped around him, an burdensome volume of rites is achieved over a prolonged china skewer that will be used. Meanwhile, he asks for a orange and chews on it. When a skewer is ready, he offers his tongue, that a clergyman dabs with Kumkum powder and ash, before slowly, laboriously, flitting a skewer by it. He doesn’t flinch. With a skewer secured, a clergyman binds Selva’s conduct in his hands, chants some prayers, and suddenly, as if roused from low thought, Selva’s physique relaxes. Without even looking up, he rises his chin sideways, and everybody in a organisation understands that a coma is over.

Now for a tiny matter of carrying a Kavadi all a approach to a church in Batu Caves. Like many other devotees, Selva will perform his eventuality currently – a day progressing – to equivocate a large crowds on a day proper. “It’s OK to do it a eve before,” explains Selva when we spoke to him earlier. “It is still within a portentous generation of time, when a Pusam star is during a tip indicate and it emanates certain energy.”

Selva starts his tour towards a cavern with a weight of his Kavadi on his shoulders

Positive energy

Energy would be a word to report Batu Caves that afternoon. The caves are a informed steer in Kuala Lumpur, a bone-white limestone cliffs surfaced with sprouting immature jungle mostly intruding into a city’s petrify skyline. When it does, it customarily provides visible relief, an oasis of ease amid civic bustle. But today, Batu Caves is buzzing with energy. Inside a park area around a caves, stalls line any walkway, offering eremite trinkets, clothes, cold drinks, vegetarian food, normal Indian candy and even furniture. The atmosphere is thick with a smell of spices and cooking oil, and vibrates with song blared from loudspeakers that have prolonged given detonate their diaphragms. Indians adore their song driving, pulsating, full-blooded. People are everywhere, jostling with you, job out to you, smiling during your camera, and when we appreciate them, lifting their chin laterally in return. Everyone and all is conspiring to kick behind a energy-sapping Malaysian afternoon heat.

As we travel closer to a caves, a tarpaulin tents of stalls partial to exhibit a famous 150 foot-tall golden statue of Lord Murugan. And subsequent to it, a 272 red-and-white stairs that takes visitors from belligerent spin adult to a mouth of a categorical cavern complex, within that resides a many visited Hindu church in a country. Closer to a feet of a caves, several organisations and associations have erected tents to offer giveaway vegetarian food to a expected 1.5 million visitors. At a behind of a tents, outrageous vats are cooking collection after collection of rice, that when piled into mounds on a list lonesome in banana leaves, resembles a tiny of a Swiss Alps.

The stage during Batu Caves during a day

In this gratifying atmosphere, Selva carries his Kavadi towards a cave. Kavadis operation in stretch and form, infrequently reaching adult to 7 feet above a bearer’s shoulders. But Selva has selected a medium chronicle imitative a carrying pole, flashy with Hindu motifs, and temperament a jar of divert during any end. He has walked some dual kilometres to arrive during a feet of a 272-step stairs that leads to a caves. All by a journey, by a song and a smell of food and a feverishness and a crowds, Selva confirmed stoic focus. Many devotees would enter into a coma for a whole generation of a procession, yet Selva is wakeful and clear-minded throughout. “That’s a approach we cite it,” he would explain later. “I wish to feel a weight on my shoulders.”

Joining a mob on their approach to a temple

Resonating with a masses

An hour and a half after a start of his pilgrimage, during a tip of a stairs, inside a temple, Selva completes his penance. His trenchant is removed. He passes a dual jars of divert to a priest, who pours it over a spear, before a tabernacle of Lord Murugan. we try to ask him how he feels. “I feel fine, no tiredness,” he says casually. “Usually if there is lassitude it will set in after a day or two, yet now we feel fine. Energised.”

The perspective from a cave

As we leave a temple, during a mouth of a cave, a perspective opens up. we see that a mob had distended significantly. Suddenly, we am wakeful of a bulk of a event. Below us, over a stairs streaming with people, a shape-shifting mob of devotees gravitates towards us, watched over by a golden Lord Murugan. Behind us, a gaping mouth of Batu Caves soars overhead. Surrounding it all was a eve sky, solemnly branch a colour of saffron.

At night, it’s a sea of of people, as a continue cools and some-more people start their pilgrimage

Thaipusam during night

At night, Thaipusam morphs into a opposite animal. The crowd, holding advantage of cooler weather, simply triples. The song continues unabated, yet a object is transposed by lights of all colours, casting changeable shadows in any direction. It is a busiest time of Thaipusam. we am with K. Anuharan, a advocate who flies behind from Australia any year for a procession. He is scheming to lift a 30 kg Kavadi to Batu Caves, yet we are stuck, literally, in a Kavadi jam.

Anuharan carries his Kavadi, goes into a coma and emerges as a Hindu deity Lord Hanuman

Stuck in Kavadi rush hour

Kavadis building over me from any direction. Large Kavadis, any accompanied by an environment of family and friends, and mostly by a normal drum unit as well. It is a vanquish of tellurian bodies, with not a moment’s silence, as a drum troupes take turns belting out rattling beats and devotees mangle out in chants of “Vel Vel Muruga”. We need to make it to a Batu River, where Anuharan can offer his prayers, lift his Kavadi, and trigger a trance. It is no some-more than a hundred metres away, yet we simply can't get there. Anuharan is already dual hours late. He had designed to kick a night rise period, yet now finds himself pound in a center of it. In a impulse of calm, between organising his entourage, perplexing to navigate his Kavadi by a throng, and placating his immature daughter (who was worried since she was barefoot), he catches my eye. “Tension”, he says with a smile. Why? “Already dual hours late, and we had to make we wait.” we demur, he smiles. we am beholden adequate that he has authorised me to join his entourage.

It is motionless that it would be unfit to strech a riverbank. Anuharan will offer his prayers on a pavement where we stand. Items are brought out and placed on sheets of newspaper, braziers illuminated with camphor tablets. Amidst a noise, a jostling, a semi-darkness, we can hardly follow a protocol that takes place. Ash is dirty on his physique and his forehead. He prostrates himself before his elders. The divert jar is filled with milk, and fixed to a centre of a Kavadi. Somewhere, someone flips a switch, and Anuharan’s Kavadi flashes with multicolored lights. On a centrepiece of a Kavadi, a styrofoam peacock shimmers in a lights. Anuharan finds time to collect adult his daughter, and shows her a centrepiece. “See, all this we did for you.” Anuharan had swayed a Kavadi builder to supplement lights and a peacock to his Kavadi during a really final minute, even going to a border of purchasing a lights on his own, during a ask of his daughter. His daughter is placated.

It is time to lift his Kavadi. Bala, a Kavadi maker, helps mountain a Kavadi on his shoulders, adjusting a steel equipment to make certain that a weight is uniformly distributed opposite a shoulders. With a Kavadi strapped on, there is one final protocol before a approach starts – initiating a trance. The mob around senses something is happening, and spin to watch. Anuharan’s elders step brazen to magnify him. Anuharan asks for a drum unit to play louder. His environment starts chanting. His mom breaks into a coma and starts dancing before him. The chanting turns urgent. Anuharan takes it all in, palms pulpy together. His physique goes taut. He throws his conduct back, and with a good cry, he emerges as a Hindu deity Lord Hanuman, and immediately starts dancing.

Presenting himself before a tabernacle of Lord Murugan

A prolonged journey

Four hours later, Anuharan’s environment is still nonetheless to arrive during a stairs of Batu Caves. A true travel of a approach route would take an hour during most, yet it’s Kavadi rush hour. Moreover, Anuharan, hexed by a witty Lord Hanuman, insists on dancing his approach there. Anuharan would after tell me that he can't dance to save his life.

As we nearby a caves, a vanquish of bodies becomes roughly suffocating. Ahead, a hulk statue of Lord Murugan rises into view. With many of a Kavadis during this hour illuminated adult like Christmas trees, we suppose a perspective from his vantage indicate would be utterly surreal – dancing boats of lights floating on a sea of tellurian bodies.

By a time we finally strech a summit, it is an hour past midnight. Below, a crowd, yet still huge, has begun to thin. Inside a temple, a Kavadi is dismounted, and Anuharan, as Lord Hanuman, presents himself before a tabernacle of Lord Murugan. It seemed like a dual deities common a moment. Then, Anuharan takes a splash of holy ash, presses it to his forehead, and, unexpected usually human, he collapses.

His family helps him to a shrine, where his charity of divert is poured out before a deity. As he lingers for a impulse longer, palms pulpy together opposite his front in prayer, his face contorts with emotion. His tour is over. Even examination him from a distance, we felt a release. This is a perfection not of a five-hour Kavadi pilgrimage, yet of a 48-day tour that started, with a derivation of his vows, in Australia. “Everything I’ve finished is out of friendship to Lord Murugan,” he would explain later. “It’s not only a divert that we offered, we wish to be a best that we can via a past 48 days. Hopefully that becomes a robe for a rest of a year, until a subsequent Thaipusam.”

Anuharan and his daughter, after completing his pilgrimage

All are welcome

As we leave a temple, we notice a organisation of Chinese Buddhists who had also only offering divert during a shrine. One of them even had a skewer by his cheeks and piercings on his back. It led me to remember a review with Selva previously: “Hinduism binds zero opposite other religions,” he said. “We trust God is one, and there are many ways for us to realize God.” Anuharan agrees. “Everyone has their possess tour to walk. we am brought adult a Hindu, so we travel in a Hindu trail to realize God, only as a Christian would travel in a Christian path, and as a Buddhist would travel in a Buddhist path.” In retrospect, this inclusiveness is unexpected clear to me. Both Selva and Anuharan authorised me, a stranger, to share a many dedicated partial of their lives, but meddling into my personal eremite beliefs. And after everything, they thanked me, even before we could appreciate them. Their acquire bordered on veneration: “This chairman contingency be sent to us by Lord Murugan!” exclaimed a member of Selva’s environment after a procession, holding my hand. we appreciate him in return, and he rises his chin sideways, a gesticulate that says it all.

 

Missed a initial partial of this series? We go behind a scenes of Kavadi creation to find out what it means to lift a burden.

Discover some-more things to do, see and experience in Malaysia during www.tourism.gov.my

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Tourism Malaysia

Penang Food Trail

Ask any Malaysian about Penang, and they’ll unequivocally speak about a food. From burn kuey teow to nasi kandar, cendol to rojak and more; there’s only so many to ambience and try during a food collateral of Malaysia. So where do we begin, we ask? Fret not, we’ve left on a hunt for all a must-try goodies and gathered them for we here.

First stop: Jalan Burma

Must try:

Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng

Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng
Seng Lee Cafe
270, Jalan Burma, Georgetown
Opening hours: 8am – 6pm (Closed on Monday)

One of a many famous mee goreng (fried noodles) case in Penang, a Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng is a good approach to start your gastronomic adventure. The case has been handling for generations during a dilemma of Bangkok Lane and Burma Road. Flavourful noodles boiled to soundness with potatoes and sharp sotong (cuttlefish), surfaced with a fist of lime.

Also in a area:

Assam Laksa Lemak Laksa
Kedai Kop Sin Hwa
329, Jalan Burma, Georgetown
Opening hours: 10.30am – 4.30pm (Closed on Thursday)

Apom Manis
Stall during Lorong Kuching, subsequent to Kedai Kopi New Cathay
425, Jalan Burma, Georgetown
Opening hours: 7am – 1pm (Closed on Sunday)

Next stop: Jalan Rangoon/Lorong Selamat

Must try:

02_01HotBowlCurryMee

White Curry Mee

White Curry Mee (Non-Halal)
Hot Spicy Bowl Nyonya Delights
58, Jalan Rangoon, Georgetown
Opening hours: 8am to 3pm (Closed on Monday)

Don’t be astounded when your play of curry noodles is served white. There’s a enclosure of chilli pulp on any list for we to supplement into your noodles – we can put as many as we want! Topped with uninformed cockles, cuttlefish, tofu and bean sprouts, a essence of a curry mee here is truly authentic.

Lorong Selamat Char Kuey Teow

Lorong Selamat Char Kuey Teow (Non-Halal)
Kafe Heng Huat
108, Lorong Selamat, Georgetown
Opening hours: 11:30am – 6pm (Closed on Tuesday)

No outing to Penang is finish yet a image of burn kuey teow (fried noodles). The Lorong Selamat chronicle of a burn kuey teow competence be one of a many costly in Penang, yet it’s hands down one of a best in town. Flat rice noodles, boiled to soundness with large, luscious prawns – we competence clean a drool off your chin now

Third stop: Jalan Penang

Must try:

Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul

Teochew Chendul
Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul
475, Jalan Penang, Georgetown
Opening hours: 10:30am – 7pm (Monday to Friday) 10am – 7:30pm (Saturday to Sunday)

There’s zero improved than an ice cold dessert on a hot, balmy day. Chendul (also spelt cendol) is a renouned dessert done with coconut milk, palm sugarine syrup, kidney beans and immature jelly, surfaced with shaved ice. This roadside case has been in operation given 1963! You can reserve adult for a chendul and have it station around a stall, or suffer it in a coffee emporium subsequent to it for a slight surcharge.

Assam Laksa

Assam Laksa

Assam Laksa
Joo Hooi Cafe
475, Jalan Penang, Georgetown
Opening hours: 11:30am – 5pm

Ranked 7th in a world’s 50 best dishes by CNN, a assam laksa is another Penang favourite. The thick, sourish soup is done with fish and tamarind, and surfaced over thick rice noodles. The Joo Hooi Cafe chronicle is unequivocally addictive, with only a right volume of sourness.

Nasi Kandar

Nasi Kandar
Nasi Kandar Line Clear
Corner of Lebuh Chulia and Jalan Penang, Georgetown
Opening hours: 24 hours

Located in an alley during a dilemma of Lebuh Chulia Jalan Penang, Nasi Kandar Line Clear competence not be a prettiest steer in town. But one sniff of a curries, and you’ll forget about a surroundings. You’ll be given a choice of plain steamed rice or briyani rice, and a preference of meat, curries and vegetables.

Also in a area:

Popiah
Kek Seng Coffeeshop
382, Jalan Penang, Georgetown
Opening hours: 11am – 4:30pm

Lorbak (Non-halal)
Kafe Kheng Pin
80, Jalan Penang, Georgetown
Opening hours:  7am – 3pm (Closed on Monday)

Fourth Stop: Lebuh Union Lebuh Chulia

Must try:

Pasembor

Pasembor
Kareem Pasembor Rojak
Lebuh Union, Georgetown
Opening hours: 11am – 7pm (Closed on Sunday)

Pasembor is a kind of salad consisting of shredded cucumber, potatoes, boiled beancurd, prawn fritters and egg surfaced with a special honeyed and sharp bulb sauce. You can select to brew and compare a ingredients, or sequence one with everything. The hardness of a prawn fritters are only right, not too soothing or chewy. And with a inexhaustible assisting of a sauce, Kareem’s pasembor doesn’t disappoint.

Chicken Tandoori

Tandoori
Restoran Kapitan
93, Lebuh Chulia, Georgetown
Opening hours: 24 hours

The steep tandoori here is unequivocally proposal and flavourful. Served with a feathery naan, it’s a flattering stuffing meal. If you’re looking for a heavier meal, a claypot briyani during Restoran Kapitan is also recommended.

Also in a area:

Hot Puthu
Jelutong Hot Puthu
Lebuh Penang, Georgetown
Opening hours: from 5pm

Mee Goreng Hameed Coconut Shake
Kota Selera Padang Kota Lama
Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, Georgetown
Opening hours: 11:30am – 8pm (Closed on Sunday)

Last stop: Lebuh Kimberley Jalan Siam

Duck Kway Chap

Duck Kway Chap (Non-halal)
Restoran Kimberly
Lebuh Kimberley, Georgetown
Opening hours: 6:30pm – 11:30pm (Closed on Thursday)

Kway Chap is a special handmade rice noodle, served in a somewhat herbal broth. This case here has been apportionment steep kway guy for over 3 decades. Each play comes with a inexhaustible apportionment of braised duck, innards, egg and a choice of kway chap, rice or porridge. The flavoursome soup is unequivocally delicious, you’ll be slurping compartment a unequivocally final drop!

05_02SiamCKT

Jalan Siam Char Kuey Teow

Char Kuey Teow (Non-halal)
Siam Road Char Kuey Teow
Jalan Siam, Georgetown
Opening hours: 3pm to 11pm (Closed on Monday)

Ask any Penangite where a best burn kuey teow is, and they’ll many expected lead we to Jalan Siam. A 5 notation expostulate divided from Lebuh Kimberley, this burn kuey teow case has been here for decades. An aged male fries a noodles, while his son brings them over to a coffeeshop conflicting where we can lay and have your meal. A word of advice, don’t come here on an dull stomach as a wait can be adult to an hour! It’s value a wait though, if we have a time.

 

Also try …

Here are some other tantalizing goodies we should try, if we are in a area.

Hokkien Mee

Hokkien Mee (Non-Halal)
Cecil Street Market
40-48, Lebuh Cecil, Georgetown
Opening hours: 7am until late

Curry Mee (Non-Halal)
Lorong Seratus Tahun Curry Mee
Lorong Seratus Tahun, Georgetown
Opening hours: 7:30am – 2pm (Closed on Thursday)

Apom Chooi

Apom Manis
Apom Chooi
Jalan Burma (Near Union Primary School), Georgetown
Opening hours: 10am – 6pm (Closed on Sunday)

Hawker Food (Non-halal)
New Lane Hawker Centre
Lorong Baru, Georgetown
Opening hours: 6pm compartment late

 

Here’s a map to assistance we on your food hunt:

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Hope we’ve got your stomach growling with this guide! Book your trip to Penang now, or find out some-more during www.tourism.gov.my

 

Disclaimer:
The views and opinions voiced in this post are those of a author and do not paint Tourism Malaysia and is not permitted by Tourism Malaysia.

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Cuisine in Melaka

GOODBYE 2014, WELCOME 2015

In a few hours, we will say goodbye to 2014 and welcome in the New Year 2015.

It has been a bad year for MALAYSIA as many unpredicted events occurred that affected MALAYSIA and Malaysians in general. 3 air disasters within one year are very bad. Started with the disappearance of MH 370, the shooting down of MH 17 and days before the end of 2014, we got the bad news of AirAsia plane going down in the Java sea due to a severe storm.

We were struck by landslides in Cameron highlands and before we know it, floods submerged Kelantan, Trengganu, Pahang, Perak and Johor. More than 250,000 people had to be evacuated from rising flood waters. Emergency supplies failed to reach the flood victims on time due to flooded roads, damaged roads, lack of power supply and clean water.

We hope 2015 will bring good news to MALAYSIA and Malaysians. Let the rain wash away our bad luck of 2014 so that we can start the New Year clean in our thoughts and action. Bless us in prosperity, harmony, and live together with tolerance and forgiveness.

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Cuisine in Melaka

QONG XI FA CAI IN THE YEAR OF THE YEAR

As the Chinese New Year of the Goat is fast approaching, the webmaster of Tourism Melaka wants to extend our best wishes to all our visitors and well wishers.

May the New Year of the Goat brings you happiness, wealth, prosperity and health to you and your family.

QONG XI FA CAI AND HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015.

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Cuisine in Melaka

MELAKA AS PART OF 21ST CENTURY MARITIME SILK ROUTE

This blogspot is being created to compliment our main Tourism Melaka website at www.tourism-melaka.com.

We hope to write our comments and views on the development of the tourism sector in Melaka so that old cultural jewels can be retained and new ones generated to attract more visitors to our Melakan shores.

For us to continue our journey, we like to invite visitors to pen their comments and views so that we can create a sustainable and vibrant tourism sector in Melaka.

Enjoy.

TW Kang

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