Malaysia: Spirit of Liberation


malaysiaIt was not my usual Sunday to begin with. This was probably the highlight of my 2013 year. After more than 3 decades living in this beautiful land, I had the opportunity to visit Batu Caves during Thaipusam festival for the very first time. Yes! first time. Shocker, right? Well..I’ve visited Batu Caves many times but not once I have the opportunity to be there during Thaipusam. So here I was, and this is my story of Spirit of Liberation.

I woke up at 5am and while this is not my usual waking hours, I was anxious with my level of curiosity running high on what to expect today. I used to watch on tv and browse through pictures in the internet during Thaipusam in Batu Caves, but never dare to step my foot there as it will be crowded with normally more than 1 million people!

I started walking to one of the most captivating scene with miracle and mysterious event celebrated mostly by the Hindus on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). The festival computerate when the goddess Parvati gave Lord Muruga the VEL (spear) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman. It is also believed that Thaipusam festival is to take a vow and pray to God so that bad traits will be demolished.

As I approached towards the entrance of Batu Caves, the place was already packed with people and loud music. I could see the Lord Muruga statue shining bright from the staring of the sun.

It was massive and crowded. We decided to break into smaller groups as it would be impossible to stick as one while we gazed ourselves into the crowd. Various types of devotion ranging from kavadi bearer, spear piercing through cheeks and tongue, hooks stuck at the back, some are in trance while some shave their heads and undertake a pilgrimage route while carrying a pot of milk.

Mind blowing and simply give me goosebumps while I’m writing this, it was one the most fascinating festival I’ve been to. I still find it hard to digest the miracle of endurance the devotees when through. A humbling experience and how it grips my soul almost effortlessly. As I asked for forgiveness and blessing while praying to Lord Muruga, it was a mixed baggage of emotional. A little teary moment as I witnessed and felt the strong vibe of determination, passion and strong will! It was like recollecting all the advise and lesson taught by my late grandma when i was younger. Never give up no matter what happen coz somehow or rather if you put your mind to it, God will lead the way.

I’ve decided to climb that 272 steps and check out what happen up there. So up I went passing through massive crowd while the devotees chanting VEL VEL .

Upon reaching the top I could see most of the devotees are taking off their kavadi. Some are sitting and reminiscing the moment while some are giving offering in forms of coconut and fruits to the temple while the priest says the prayers. Inside a cave, packed of people from walks of life came here for one reason. Simply a bizarre scene but all in the name for good deed.

The experience was simply exhilarating and overwhelming. You could even see many tourists from all around the world come to Batu Caves simply to witness the anticipation. It was a grand festival and am proud that our own Malaysia able to provide all this indescribable experience. After all that I’ve decided to come down as I supposed to meet the others by 11am. I went to the bridge and took some more photos as the parade was not over. There are more devotees walking through to pay their vows under the scorching sun.

Thank you Lord making me felt so touched, realized and humble with anticipation on this very day. I will sure to come back next year and try to capture more of Thaipusam moment. For those of you out there who want to capture this moment like I did, you may opt to take the train to Batu Caves Komuter as certain roads will be closed on that day. But if you planned to just visit on a normal day, you may drive and park your car inside. Be amazed, be amused, be inspired and most importantly love your life and make it interesting. So come, bring along your family, friends from local or even abroad and visit this legendary God’s creation cave to believe it yourself!

About the Author: Umadevi Vengdesh aka Devi da lil’ Devil adore travelling and as much as enthusiastically discovering the culture, tradition, art and beauty of life through photography. Her passion among others are being an adventure junkie and joining all sorts of contests and competition which had lead her interesting life to travel for free, being on newspaper, radio and on televisions.

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