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Tourism Malaysia

Thaipusam: Carrying A Common Burden

“I am a sequence smoker,” says a Kavadi maker. “Every day one packet.”

I am station amidst piles of plywood and steel fittings, appetite collection on a building and sawdust in a air, underneath a front porch shutter of a elementary patio residence on a hinterland of Banting, 45 mins from Kuala Lumpur. Outside, in a prohibited afternoon sun, half finished Kavadis mount on a asphalt, some small skeletons of steel rods and plywood, unrecognisable. This is where Kavadis—a earthy weight carried by Hindus as an act of penance during a festival of Thaipusam—are made. we consult a stage before me. we had approaching it to be rather reduction industrial, some-more visionary – maybe an ascetic hand-crafting his creations, amid swirls of camphor smoke. But cigarette smoking is a review during hand. “I’m a sequence smoker, yet given a month of Thai began, not a singular stick.”

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Bala operative on a Kavadi

Bala, a Kavadi maker, is referring to a Hindu month of Thai, from that a Hindu festival Thaipusam derives a name. On a day we accommodate him, he has not had a fume for 3 weeks. Along with other Hindu devotees, Bala undergoes fasting for 48 days (the generation of a month in a Hindu calendar), abstaining from party and oppulance before a day-long proceed that is a face of Thaipusam. Bala proudly shows me an manuscript of journal clippings, where any print or discuss of his Kavadis in a press has been lovingly laminated and bound. It is a work of love. “It’s not unequivocally about a money,” he says in a thick Tamil accent, “I assistance people to do their pilgrimage.”

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Putting a finishing touches on a Kavadi and contrast it out

A event with opposite paths

I accommodate one of Bala’s business during a march of my visit. K. Anuharan has come to check on a swell of his Kavadi. Wearing a thick, silver-speckled brave and a malar (sort of a Hindu rosary) around his neck, he surprises me by vocalization ideal English. His Kavadi is comparatively medium by stream standards, yet still measures over 5 feet in tallness and width, and weighs around 30 kg. Balance is a hallmark of a well-crafted Kavadi, and Anuharan is here to make certain that a Kavadi’s heft is uniformly distributed opposite his shoulders. “As distant behind as we can remember, we have been fasten a Thaipusam proceed during Batu Caves any year.” At my disbelief, he strains to remember if he has ever missed one. “No,” he finally says. “Even now that we am staying in Australia, we will fly behind any Thaipusam.”

Selva is another Hindu advocate who will lift a Kavadi this year. An operative during an airline association formed in KL and an zealous marathon runner, he too has assimilated a proceed any year given childhood. Even when he was operative in Singapore during his younger days, he assimilated a proceed in Singapore.

The Kavadi that Selva will lift is totally opposite from Anuharan’s. He shows me a print of it on his phone. It is a elementary timber pole, modestly embellished, that will be offset opposite his shoulders. At both ends of a pole, he will hang a jar of milk, that devotees move to a church as an offering. While a incomparable Kavadis and a fantastic Vel Kavadis (which are trustworthy to bearers partly by steel spikes pierced into a bearers’ skin) are a ones that squeeze a courtesy of photographers and a public, it is Selva’s understated Kavadi that is closer to a normal form. “The normal Kavadi is merely a stick with an arch over it, that rests on a bearer’s shoulder,” explains Kandasamy Velayuthan, Deputy President of a Malaysian Hindu Sangam, a physique that oversees Thaipusam celebrations in Malaysia. “It should usually be flashy with palm branches, peacock feathers and fruits that are used for prayers.” Over a years, Kavadis grew bigger and some-more elaborate. Kandasamy admits that this could be partly fuelled by one-upmanship among devotees, yet is also due to a opposite vows done by opposite devotees. Perhaps any male has his possess weight to carry.

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Anuharan charity prayers before a large day

Diverging beliefs

Both Anuharan and Selva determine to me following them during a Thaipusam procession. Knowing that we have no before experience, they report to me a standard Thaipusam procession.

The proceed itself is a rough epic. Over a million devotees take a two-kilometre proceed to Batu Caves, many carrying Kavadis of all sizes, a atmosphere rattling with a raging drumbeats of normal song troupes. Though a rituals practised competence differ, a channel is mostly similar: The proceed starts on a banks of a Batu River, where devotees rinse themselves as a mystic form of cleansing, Hindu priests offer prayers, and a devotees take adult their Kavadis. At this point, all a avoidance and fasting and imagining of a prior 48 days come to a head. Many Kavadi bearers will enter into a trance. Anuharan describes a experience: “The appetite of a deity is channeled into you, and it’s as if we remove control of your body. You are wakeful of your surroundings, yet it’s as if another appetite is determining your body, giving we a continuation and concentration to finish a procession. Sometimes we even remove alertness completely, so we have no correlation of events during a trance. You enter into a coma during a stream bank, and arise adult during Batu Caves!”

The power of a coma depends really most on a devotee’s preparations forward of a large day. “Sometimes we get a good trance, infrequently we get a diseased trance,” says Anuharan. “If we didn’t ready with a right suggestion – quick scrupulously or spend time meditating – we will get a diseased trance, and this means we competence not have a strength to finish a procession. It is pronounced that a piercings would harm too,” he continues, referring to a common use of trenchant one’s self with steel skewers or hooks, as an concomitant act of penance.

Piercings have turn a indicate of contention. Some, like Anuharan, remonstrate with a practice. “Hinduism never asks me to harm myself,” he says. “It is a form of penance for some, they make a vouch to do it, and so they contingency perform that vow. But for me, we don’t do it.” Selva, though, has had piercings before, and offers his counterpoint. “I have listened that when a skewer is pierced by a tip of a tongue, it touches a haughtiness on a tongue that helps a mind to concentration and keep it in a pondering state during a procession.”

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A clergyman restraining a Kappu on Anuharan’s palm and blessing him and his family

The home stretch

Three days before Thaipusam, devotees who devise to attend in a proceed revisit a church to offer special prayers. Anuharan, whose event began in Australia, offers his prayers during a Ayappan church circuitously Batu Caves. A clergyman affixes a square of turmeric on a string, sprinkles it with red Kunkum powder, and ties it to Anuharan’s hand. It is called a Kappu. It is a pointer that a dispatcher has done a vow, and is now portion out his penance. For a subsequent 3 days, Anuharan will stay during a temple, sleeping on a building during night, meditating and avoiding secular distractions.

Selva, no foreigner to tests of endurance, is attack a home widen too. His vows of avoidance will grow some-more severe, and he too will discuss more. Bala, a Kavadi maker, has most some-more to do. He has set adult a tent circuitously a Batu River, that will offer as his bottom of operations. Last-minute requests from business leave him busy. At a same time, he too needs to observe all his vows. By day he scrambles to finish Kavadis, by night he and his mother nap during circuitously temples. On Thaipusam day, Bala will perform a proceed over and over again. He or members of his group need to travel with a devotees who lease his Kavadi all a proceed to a Batu Caves temple, and collect a Kavadi in time for a subsequent rental. Anuharan, Selva, and Bala are only 3 of an estimated 1.5 million people who will mob Batu Caves this year. Each will proceed Batu Caves with opposite vows, temperament opposite burdens, carrying walked opposite paths. This is a final buildup of spirituality, for all of them.

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Anuharan perplexing out a Kavadi

A common burden

Why do we do it? we ask. Though Anuharan and Selva differ in their use of Thaipusam, they both offer a same answers – invocation and tradition. “I lift a large Kavadi given we once done a request, and it was answered miraculously. In return, we vowed to lift a large Kavadi any year, so this is a accomplishment of that vow,” explains Anuharan. Selva has never done a specific vow, yet he, too, sees a Thaipusam proceed as an act of thanksgiving.

“It is a proceed of expressing my thankfulness for a blessings in my life, and during a same time, to ask for a blessings to continue.” Selva adds, “It is partial of my temperament as a Hindu. My family has always participated in a Thaipusam procession, and when a time comes we will pass this on to my children.” Anuharan concurs. “Every year, ever given we can remember, my family has taken this pilgrimage. It is a tradition value keeping.”

——–

Journey with us, as we go on a event to Batu Caves in a second partial of this series: A Walk Among Gods

Want to know some-more about Thaipusam and other festivals and events in Malaysia? Visit www.tourism.gov.my for some-more information.

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Thaipusam: a jubilee of faith and gratitude

While many of us associate Thaipusam with crowds during temples and a grand steer of kavadi bearers, how many of us indeed know a stress of a occasion?

A advocate temperament a kavadi – a pitch of piety and devotion

Thaipusam comes from an amalgam of a difference “Thai” – referring to a Tamil month of Thai (January – February) – and Pusam – a brightest star during this period. Falling between 15 Jan and 15 Feb each year, Thaipusam is a jubilee of Lord Murugan’s feat over Soorapadman’s tyranny.

Soorapadman believed himself godlike given he can't be killed by anything other than a being that was a phenomenon of Lord Shiva, one of a many critical Hindu deities. Unluckily for him, Lord Murugan was one such being and he used his stalk or vel, that was given to him by Lord Shiva’s consort, Parvati, to better Soorapadman.

So it is that during Thaipusam, a people appreciate Lord Murugan for extenuation their wishes and defeating a “daily demons” that disease their lives, be it illnesses, career blocks or infertility. Believers not entirely appreciate him, they also ask redemption for trangressions made, as good as urge for blessings.

The rituals of Thaipusam entirely start most progressing before a large day itself. Some devotees quick for some-more than a month before a arise while others trim their heads as an act of gratitude, defence or as a touching defence to have prayers answered.

On a eve of Thaipusam, a picture of Lord Murugan is ecstatic from one church to another, accompanied and waited on by devotees temperament offerings to a deity. Milk, a pitch of virginity and virtue, as good as flowers and fruits are common Thaipusam offerings. Kavadis, literally “sacrifice during each step”, can be seen trustworthy to devotees around hooks and skinny spears that pierce their backs, cheeks and mouths.

This can be utterly a steer for onlookers who no doubt consternation how these kavadi bearers withstand a pain, though devotees will tell we that their romantic faith in their Lord Murugan’s insurance spares them from pain and prevents them from shedding blood. Bearing a kavadi is an act of friendship and humility.

Additionally, coconuts are crushed to weigh a violation of a ego and a presentation of a purer self.

In Batu Caves – one of a focal points of Thaipusam jubilee in Malaysia – a approach concomitant a china chariot temperament Lord Murugan’s idol, starts from Sri Mahamariamman, in a centre of Kuala Lumpur, to a temples of Batu Caves. The approach entirely starts before midnight on a eve of Thaipusam and is a 15 kilometre tour that can simply take 8 hours.

Devotees wait for hours usually to locate a glance of Lord Murugan on his chariot and extend their offerings while hundreds of thousands some-more join a approach to a temples. The series of people during Batu Caves during Thaipusam can operation from 700,000 right adult to 1.5 million. At Batu Caves, devotees steadily lift their offerings and kavadi bearers staunchly shoulder their burdens adult 272 stairs to a temple.

Celebrations also take place in other tools of a country. Other principal places of jubilee embody a Waterfall Temple in Penang and Kallumalai Temple in Ipoh, Perak.

A approach concomitant a chariot temperament a Hindu deity as it creates a approach to a church during Thaipusam

Thaipusam, to any who are propitious to declare a festivities, is both a clear jubilee of colours and a fascinating arrangement of faith. Yet, this is not a entirely Hindu festival that is value temperament declare to. Other holy days, critical to Hindu faith and culture, are usually as engaging and engrossing.

Deepavali, literally definition “rows of lamps”, for example, is a jubilee of light triumphing over dark. On this day in a Tamil month of Aippasi (October – November), one fable has it that a Lord Krishna degraded a demon aristocrat Naraka. Hindus applaud a arise by anointing themselves in oil and partaking in a protocol bath early in a morning on Deepavali day. Then new garments are ragged and prayers are performed. Deepavali is utterly presumably a best famous Hindu festival in Malaysia. Other festivals besides Thaipusam and Deepavali are:

Thai-ponggal

Celebrated for 4 days, commencement from a initial day of a Tamil month of Thai, Ponggal means a “boiling over” of rice and is a invocation to a elements that have contributed to a good collect – especially a object and a cattle. On this day, a cattle gets a well-deserved day of rest, a good rinse and their sheds likewise get a consummate cleaning. They are also flashy with garlands and fed with ponggal – sweet rice. The Sun God is thanked as good with both prayers and honeyed rice. But a thankfulness isn’t entirely singular to a Sun God and a cattle; on a third day of celebration, visits are done to family and friends, employers entirely benefaction gifts to their employees and singular women benefaction offerings to their home deities, praying for a estimable husband.

Sivarathiri

Taking place on a 13th night of a Tamil month of Masi (February – March), this is a festival of fasting and prayers. It is also famous as Shiva’s Night.

Panguni Utthiram

This festival falls on a same day as that of Lord Shiva’s kinship with Parvathi and a birth of Lord Murugan from sparks emanating from Lord Shiva’s eyes. Falling on a day of a full moon in a Tamil month of Panguni (March – April), a festival is distinguished most like Thaipusam in Murugan temples.

Tamil New Year

Here new year refers to a initial day of a Tamil month of Chittirai (April – May). It is on this day that a object enters a initial pointer of a Hindu zodiac – Aries. During a Tamil New Year (also famous as a Hindu New Year), a residence is entirely spotless and decorated. This includes a request room that will be ornate with bullion jewellery, rice, silk cloths and other enlightened objects. Those who take partial in a celebrations wear new clothes, eat a vegetarian dish and go to a church to perform prayers.

Navaratthiri

Literally definition “Nine Nights”, this festival is distinguished in a Tamil month of Puraddasi (September – October). The celebrations are in honour of a enchantress Shakti, who is a “Great Divine Mother” in Hindu belief. On this day, a kolu – a dais with 9 stairs – is filled with a images of Hindu deities and saints while a “Great Divine Mother” is invited to take her place on a kumpam – a beautifully decorated, water-filled pot that is lonesome with husked coconut as good as mango leaves and placed on banana root that also has rice on it. Offerings in a form of 9 forms of grains are placed during a kumpan as well.

 


Map: Batu Caves


Mini Thaipusam

Mini Thaipusam in vital colour

Miss World Malaysia 2009 Thanuja Ananthan

Colours of Deepavali [PIC]

Oil Lamp or Vilakku

Deepavali – The Festival of Lights

Malaysian Children

Festivals and celebrations in Malaysia

Arulmugu Sri Ruthra Veeramuthu Maha Mariamman Temple

A church stands proud

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Tourism Malaysia

The Mooncake Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival in Malaysia

The Mooncake Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival in Malaysia

The Mooncake Festival in Kuala Lumpur is hold in September, a eighth month of a year. Now before we cruise I’ve been eating too most mooncake or jubilee too most moonshine, let me tell we why.

It’s simple. The Chinese New Year starts in Feb so Sep is not indeed a ninth month on a Malaysian timetable. But whatever your calendar is, it’s a gorgeous spectacle, generally during night when a city lights are complemented by a charming paper lanterns of all shapes, sizes and colours displayed outward homes and shops or in travel parades.

Incense coils are a common steer around Malaysia utterly in districts such as Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. Pic: Joanne Lane

Incense coils are a common steer around Malaysia utterly in districts such as Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. Pic: Joanne Lane

The festival is distinguished to weigh a finish of a harvesting deteriorate yet it also celebrates a overpower of a Mongol warlords in ancient China. Here we’ll have to take behind in time to 1280 AD to explain. This is when a Mongols overthrew a Soong dynasty in China and imposed a Yuan dynasty in China.

Why is this critical in Malaysia we might good ask? Well there are a lot of Chinese in Malaysia and until utterly recently they were a largest racial group. Even yet they aren’t any more, that honour belongs to a Malays themselves, Chinese festivals are distinguished with gusto. In fact in multi-ethnic Malaysia festivals of all traditions are distinguished including those of Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist and Christian origins.

Today lanterns form a large partial of a celebration, as they are to remind a people of a time they used lanterns as their usually source of light. Kids in sold adore this aspect of a festival and are mostly seen roaming around with lanterns in a figure of animals. In Malaysia this sold eventuality is mostly called a Lantern Parade. There are also lantern parades during a Chinese New Year celebrations, so if we see any such march advertised only cruise what time of year it is. If it’s around Feb it’s Chinese New Year, if not it could good be partial of a Mooncake or Mid-Autumn Festival.

One of a best displays of Mooncake Festival lanterns is a Thean Hou Temple on Robson Hill. In 2011 a lantern march was hold during Central Market in Chinatown.

The best bit about a festival is of march what we get to eat. The turn mooncakes are honeyed or delectable and mostly given by younger Chinese to their seniors as an try to benefit favour. Eating mooncakes in a marketplace place is a delight; satirical by crunchy fritter into red beans, ham or tawny egg yolk. Some are also honeyed with chocolate and cinnamon flavours. Others have a clearly Malaysian turn with pandan leaves and durian inside – eek some of we will no doubt say!

Mooncakes. Pic: misbehave (Moon Cakes  Uploaded by Atlaslin)

Mooncakes. Pic: misbehave (Moon Cakes Uploaded by Atlaslin)

The best place to eat them in Kuala Lumpar is Jalan Petaling in Chinatown where eateries arrangement them in brightly phony boxes.

While we might not be astounded that mooncakes are round, their figure represents a togetherness of a family to a Chinese. So in Malaysia a Chinese applaud a festival with family gatherings and prayers.

There’s some tradition to this. In Chinese Halika and Foochow families a oldest women lead a prayers during a impulse when a full moon appears. Before we eat a mooncake they are initial offering on altars to deities with a prevalent lighting of joss sticks, red candles and a blazing of golden joss paper. Thirty mins after a eating begins.

Another Chinese festival that is really renouned around Malaysia is a Festival of a Hungry Ghost.

If we skip a Mooncake Festival this year, Malaysia has a resources of open holidays and special holidays. There are 44 open holidays any year mostly formed on a Muslim calendar or a Hindu and Chinese calendars.

Guandi Temple in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur. Pic: Joanne Lane.

Guandi Temple in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur. Pic: Joanne Lane.

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Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur

It competence not have occurred to we that a residence of ceremony could be both informative and attention-grabbing during a same time. The Sri Mahamariamman church in Kuala Lumpur is one of a many renouned temples among worshippers and visitors alike. The Sri Mahamariamman church was built in year 1873 by K. Thamboosamy Pillai though was usually non-stop to a open in a 1920s. After withstanding time and elements, a strange structure was transposed with a stream building in 1968. Today, with some-more than a century of history, a Sri Mahamariamman church is a oldest as good as a richest Hindu church in Kuala Lumpur, a collateral city of Malaysia.

sri mahamariamman church kuala lumpur 1

So how does a Sri Mahamariamman church bother your interest? The many conspicuous underline of a church is a structure that is identical to a figure of a tellurian physique with a conduct positioned towards a west and a feet indicating east. The feet are symbolized by a 75-feet high gopuram (monumental tower) hire 5 tiers high. There is an considerable gateway during any tier, any ornate with 228 Hindu deities that are sculpted in a styles of south India. The arch deity, Sri MahaMariamman, is commissioned during a middle sanctum that is a usually opening that faces to a east.

sri mahamariamman church kuala lumpur 2

sri mahamariamman church kuala lumpur 5

The categorical request gymnasium in a church flashy by murals and frescos is another focal indicate for you. The plcae of 3 shrines in a categorical church is roofed by an elaborate detailed dome. In addition, there are 4 smaller shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesha and his brother, Lord Muruga, located around a categorical request hall.

sri mahamariamman church kuala lumpur 3

You could mark a hulk splinter chariot that is also a vital underline during a Hindu festival of Thaipusam. The chariot is brought out from a church when Thaipusam approaches. You competence compensate a revisit to a church on that holy day to see for yourself how a chariot is used to lift a statues of Lord Muruga and his consorts (Valli and Teivayanni) adult to Batu Caves in diminutive hours of a morning. Prayers are charity before to a prolonged possession where devotees insert outrageous carriers (kavadi) to their bodies by hooks and transport a unstable altars with lances trenchant their skins. Other devotees will lift containers containing divert as charity to Lord Muruga. Thaipusam is one festival that never fails to attract extraordinary onlookers who are penetrating to learn and observe Hindu cultures. Another renouned festival that puts a Sri Mahamariamman church in a core of courtesy is Deepavali, a festival of Light.

sri mahamariamman church kuala lumpur 6

sri mahamariamman church kuala lumpur 7

The Sri Mahamariamman church boasts several perplexing design that if we are a photography enthusiast, we could spend a whole day here find capturing shots of several angles and perspectives.

sri mahamariamman church kuala lumpur 4

Nearby attractions

Popular attractions circuitously a Indian church are of march a colourful Petaling Street (Night Day) market, Central Market, Merdeka Square and a equally pleasing Guan Di Chinese Temple (located along a same road, only 40 meters from Sri Mahamariamman).

Opening hours

The church is open daily from 6am until 8.30pm (Friday until 9.30pm, Saturday until 9pm). During special festivals opening hours infrequently differ.

sri mahamariamman church kuala lumpur 8

Entrance fees

Entrance to a church is giveaway of charge. A little price of a few ringgit is charged for storing your boots during a protected place when we are visiting a inside of a temple. Visitors are not authorised in with their boots on.

Contact sum residence Sri Mahamariamman Temple

Jalan Tun H. S. Lee (Jalan Bandar)
50050 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Tel: + 604 263 4941

How to get to a Sri Mahamariamman Temple

The church is located within Chinatown, nearby Petaling Street. If we are entrance by metro, only exit during a Pasar Seni LRT station. From there we have to travel about 50 meters along Jalan Sultan, and afterwards spin left into Jalan Tun H. S. Lee. You will see Sri Mahamariamman on your left side after 50 meters. Jalan Tun H. S. Lee runs together to Petaling Street. Alternatively, we could also take a taxis or a train to your destination, any cab motorist will know a plcae of a temple.

Video Sri Mahamariamman Temple

Map of a Sri Mahamariamman Temple

Suggestions?

Got any good tips to share with us? Do we know of any good things to do in Kuala Lumpur, or tips on a best places to eat? Let us know by withdrawal a respond below!

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