It is 4AM in the morning and the smell of incense and clove cigarettes fills the air, throw in deep-fried curry puffs, dal simmering in an open kettle, and a smidgen of urine and we have a festival.
I am here at Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia at the largest Hindu festival outside of India, the Thaipusam festival.
Once a year thousands of Hindu’s gather at the Batu Cave shrine in honor of Lord Murugan, he is the big tall gold fellow in front of the steps leading into the cave. Enduring physical burden and demonstrating acts of devotion are the order of the day. The lesser act of tidings a bucket of milk to the shrine is just as honorable as carrying a large Kavadi or piercing the body.
Thaipusam festival advise:
- Come early. 4 to 6 am.
- Take the train. The cave is not accessible by cab, bus, or car during the festival due to the thousands of visitors.
- Upon arriving at the Batu Cave train station buy a return ticket so you don’t have to wait in line for two hours fighting the crowds to get back into town.