KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — A 125m natural waterfall or as long as the 272 steps at the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple in Batu Caves will be the latest attraction for devotees, visitors and tourists during Thaipusam this year.
Temple committee chairman Tan Sri R. Nadarajah said the committee had carried out upgrading works to beautify the waterfall and its surroundings to give the thousands of Hindus who visit Batu Caves on Feb 9, a cooling effect. Nadarajah added that the temple committee had also completed the construction of a 272-step fourth lane in December to add on to the three lanes in existence earlier, he told Bernama.
“The fourth lane would ensure a smooth journey for devotees who make their way to the Temple Cave and climb the flight of stairs. Devotees use the wider centre staircase while worshippers and onlookers throng up and down those balustrades on either side,” he said.
Hindu devotees throng Batu Caves by the thousands in a colourful fusion of faith, thanksgiving, and hope to mark the Thaipusam religious festival and pay homage to Lord Murugan.
Nadarajah said of the four lanes, two would be used by visitors while the third one is reserved for those carrying ‘Kavadi’ and ‘Pal Kudam’ while the fourth one would be solely for those coming down.
He said 1.5 million devotees, visitors and tourists are expected to throng Batu Caves which is known as an iconic place of worship among the Malaysian Indian community.
A 42.7m (140ft) statue of Lord Murugan, reputed to be the tallest statue of Lord Murugan in the world, stands at the main entrance as a symbol to welcome devotees to start their climb up the 272 steeps.
The 166th year Thaipusam festivity starts in earnest on Tuesday (Feb 7) when the silver chariot procession begins at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Jalan Tun H S Lee bearing the idols of Lord Murugan and his two consorts, Valli and Theivanai at 10pm.
“About 100,000 devotees plus 1,500 police personnel are expected to accompany the silver chariot which takes about 16 hours to reach Batu Caves,” he said adding that the temple in Batu Caves will be operating 24 hours on Feb 8, 9 and 10 to cater for the thousands of devotees who carry the ‘Kavadi’ or ‘Pal Kudam’ and pay homage to Lord Murugan.
Nadarajah said the temple committee had introduced a set of guidelines to be followed by worshippers during Thaipusam.
In Malaysia, Thaipusam will also celebrated at a grand scale at the Sri Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani Temple in Penang, Arul Subramaniar Temple in Ipoh, Perak and Johor.
Thaipusam is a festival celebrated mostly by the Indian community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February), mainly observed in countries where there is a significant presence of Tamil community such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, South Africa, Guadeloupe,
Réunion, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, and other parts of the Caribbean.
The word Thaipusam is a combination of the name of the month, Thai, and the name of a star, Pusam. This particular star is at its highest point during the festival.
The festival commemorates the occasion when his mother Parvati gave Murugan a Vel “spear” so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman and the auspicious day is believed to be Murugan’s birthday. — Bernama