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12 February 2015

Photowalk to Thaipusam 2015 Batu Caves [Part 1]: Sit Female Coach for the first time

Thaipusam 2015 Batu Caves

Malaysia celebrate Thaipusam every year and it is always a grand festival in Batu Caves. Honestly, we ourselves as a Malaysian should go there at least once in a lifetime because tourist from oversea came all the way for this!! Since I am staying not that far from Batu Caves, so why shouldn't I go?

That's what I was thinking when Robin and friend asked if I wanna join the photowalk. Although it wasn't comfortable when you were stuck between the mountain of people, it was a great experience for me to understand more about Thaipusam and the culture in a very close distance.

We meet at KTM Tasik Selatan as early as 3am to avoid crowd and KTM service was available specially for Thaipusam season. The counter was closed and the gate was open, so we just went in the station without paying tickets for the first time. That was our first time sitting in the KTM female coach without worry of being starred or chased away by the ladies haha.

Some people decided to overnight at the bench nearby the KTM

Non-stop KTM Commuter Service to Batu Caves for 5 Days 4 Nights (31st to 4th Feb 2015)
The KTM Commuter service was operating 24 hours specially for Thaipusam and this definitely helps a lot as we don't need to face the traffic congestion. The only down time is I don't know when the KTM will arrive that morning. There wasn't any notification on KTM arrival time.

Luckily Robin had experienced taking KTM and told us not to worry as the KTM will arrive in 20-30 minutes time. Slower than LRT but well at least it works during the midnight.

KTM to Batu Caves has arrived

First #TCSelfie before we got stuck inside the crowd trying to go into Batu Caves. This was spacious!!

"This is the Ladies Coach. Ladies only" Well that day was special ahah

Crowded once we reached Batu Cave KTM Station
Robin told us that it will be very crowded once we reach Batu Caves, and he is definitely right!! Make sure you guys visit the toilet first before spending hours among the crowd. As I believe the public toilet will be... you know...

Shave your hair bald for Thaipusam

Henna Hand-art at RM5 only

It was 4am++ and these were the crowd all trying to go to the Batu Caves

Some of them sitting on the floor for a rest. I guess they arrived much earlier and exhausted

Baby were brought to Thaipusam too for blessing
"Devotees prepare for the celebration by cleansing themselves through prayer and fasting approximately 48 days before Thaipusam. Kavadi-bearers have to perform elaborate ceremonies at the time of assuming the kavadi and at the time of offering it to Murugan. The kavadi-bearer observes celibacy and take only pure, Satvik food, once a day, while continuously thinking of God.
On the day of the festival, devotees will shave their heads and undertake a pilgrimage along a set route while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadi (burdens). At its simplest this may entail carrying a pot of milk, but mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers is also common." - source from wikipedia

Most of the devotees carrying a pot of milk (covered with yellow cloth) heading toward to the top of Batu Caves

Devotees kneeled down and facing the floor asking for blessing 
As you can see from the first photo of the blog post, one of the devotee came by to ask for blessing. I am still not sure about the characters but it seems there will be a guy with many flower rings and somehow has the power to give blessing. Besides that he will be followed by a lady as well. I can't find the actual details yet but I will surely check that tomorrow and update this space.

A lady that has a red color tongue sticking it out like a snake (red color from the powder I guess)

A bunch of guy trying to hold the man who was bearing this Kavadi. He was trying to move forward although got people in front

The moment I am surrounded by devotes as we all wanna go up to Batu Caves
In my next post you will able to know how I manage to climb up tot he top of Batu Caves. It was easy to climb the 272 stairs because the hard part was getting stuck within the crowd. Stay tuned!!

PS: All photos above were captured using Nikon D800 along with 8mm Fisheye lenses and 85mm F1.8 Nikkor Lens. Processed using Adobe Lightroom 5

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