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Worshipping the God of War 2015

peacock dance, Thaipusam, 2015, Malaysia, Leica, Summilux, Jamie Chan, No Foreign Lands, Travel
Thaipusam
happens every year between January to February depending on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai.

On this day, thousands of Hindu Devotees honours Murugan, the youngest son of Shiva and Parvati.
It is believed that on this day, Parvati presented a spear to Murugan to vanquish an evil demon and combat its evil deeds.
In other words, Thaipusam is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

Devotees prepare for Thaipusam by fasting for about a month or even longer.
On the day of the festival, they shave their heads, bear pots of milk, smash coconuts, pierce their bodies with sharp objects and carry Kavadis.

Each Kavadi weighs anywhere between 35kg to 40kg and is a physical burden in which the devotees implore help from Murugan. Devotees would make a wish at the beginning of the festival; the bigger the wish, the heavier the physical burden.

In Malaysia, this religious festival takes place at different regions; one particular popular place would be at Batu Caves, on the hills of the Gombak Region 13 kilometres north of Kuala Lumpur. Devotees head up a 272 stairs to the temple in the cave. The temple in the cave has ritualistic Hindu objects with a convex ceiling about 100 metres high.

Shaving of head, Thaipusam, 2015, Malaysia, Leica, Summilux, Jamie Chan, No Foreign Lands, Travel, Batu Caves, Devotees

A boy getting his head shaved

Bathing ritual, cleansing, Thaipusam, 2015, Malaysia, Leica, Summilux, Jamie Chan, No Foreign Lands, Travel

Praying and cleansing before the start of the pilgrimage

Trance, Thaipusam, 2015, Malaysia, Leica, Summilux, Jamie Chan, No Foreign Lands, Travel, devotees, indians

Devotees going into a trance

piercing, indian, pain, trance Thaipusam, 2015, Malaysia, Leica, Summilux, Jamie Chan, No Foreign Lands, Travel

A fully pierced devotee getting ready to start his journey up the stairs

devotee, cheer, Thaipusam, 2015, Malaysia, Leica, Summilux, Jamie Chan, No Foreign Lands, Travel

Cheering a devotee on as support from friends and family is very crucial for their journey

lights and shadows, musician, support, team Thaipusam, 2015, Malaysia, Leica, Summilux, Jamie Chan, No Foreign Lands, Travel

Musicians are indispensable to the devotees as they support them by playing and singing songs to cheers them on.

devotee, batu cave, piercing, Thaipusam, 2015, Malaysia, Leica, Summilux, Jamie Chan, No Foreign Lands, Travel

A devotee on her way to the temple in the Batu Cave

Lord murugan, hindu statue, Thaipusam, 2015, Malaysia, Leica, Summilux, Jamie Chan, No Foreign Lands, Travel

At the foot of the Batu caves where the second largest statue of Lord Murugan is found

Devotees, batu caves, Stairs, Thaipusam, 2015, Malaysia, Leica, Summilux, Jamie Chan, No Foreign Lands, Travel

Devotees making their way up the 277 stairs

chicken, Thaipusam, 2015, Malaysia, Leica, Summilux, Jamie Chan, No Foreign Lands, Travel

Animals are free to roam around the caves.

devotees, crowds, people Thaipusam, 2015, Malaysia, Leica, Summilux, Jamie Chan, No Foreign Lands, Travel

Lots of devotees everywhere

It was refreshing break to had photographed Thaipusam 2015 in Malaysia as I had photographed it in Singapore over the past 5 years or so.
The dynamics of the festival between the two countries are very different and I enjoyed experiencing it from a different perspective.

That said, things had been a little quiet on my end as I try to take control of my life and move on from last year while my personal demons mock me at every turn.
I still find it hard to pick up my camera due to certain issues and memories but I know it will get better. It always does.
April approaches, marking a quarter of the year and I am ever so grateful to the people who supported me during this period of mess.

On to the next story.

Lord Murugan, Batu Caves, View from the top Thaipusam, 2015, Malaysia, Leica, Summilux, Jamie Chan, No Foreign Lands, Travel

Lord Murugan overlooking the festivities

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