Posts Tagged ‘Thaipusam’

Thaipusam 2010 at Batu Caves

January 30th, 2010
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From Thaipusam 2010

Its Thaipusam, the religious festival to celebrate Lord Muruga!

Like most of the previous year, we planned to visit Batu Caves. We left home at 6.10am and arrived at Bat Caves at around 6.40am. Parking took another few minutes and there traffic jam was after taking the roundabout from Jalan Kuching.

While driving past the entrance (on MRR2), we can see that the crowd was more than last year, since we usually go to Batu Caves early morning around the same time. In fact the stairs were packed with people.

From Thaipusam 2010

An ugly sight greeted me as I was looking for parking. Few youths and adults were chatting with beer bottles in the hands while waiting near their car.

Parked car on the flyover. The slip road leading to Petronas after Batu Caves was closed.

The stalls were located below the new dedicated ramp which crosses the river and railway track. The ramp was closed to vehicles to allow the kavadi and kudam bearers walk through. If not, the devotees have to take a risky (but shorter) route crossing the railway track.

The venue where Brahma Kumaris and Nestle stalls were usually located was replaced with the cancelled state government’s Fiesta Deepavali banners. Brahma Kumaris stall is now located beneath the ramp.

Did the mudi kanikai at one of the stall below the new ramp, and proceeded to walk back to the temple compound.

From Thaipusam 2010

Lots of nursing colleges set up booths, providing eye candy for the youths. I saw Winfield, Nirwana (with Putera MIC), MAHSA and MAsterskill (if I’m not mistaken).

We started walking into the temple compound at 7.35am. Compared to last year, there were not ropes to demarcate the lines. So, it was a bit of free flow.

Lots of rubbish around and its not even 8am! All rubbish bins were overloaded.

Police moved in groups of 2,3 and 4. But I don’t think there were 1000 policemen there. There were also RELA and FRU, apart from the St John members and temple volunteers.

Took us 40 minutes from compound entrance till the top of the stairs. The middle lane was allocated for kavadis, while the left lane for people going up. However, since the top was crowded, many people were coming down using left lane, thus making the journey more difficult.

The signboards for Paal Kudam, Archanai, and Kavadi were only found at about 50 metres in the cave. And the paal kudam queue was long! It would have been better if the notices were put up earlier along the cave or even from the compound itself so that the crowd could be segregated earlier.

From Thaipusam 2010

We prayed for around 30 minutes or so and made our way down. The trip down was slow since the crowd was huge and lots of kavadis were going down the stairs after fulfilling their penance.

From Thaipusam 2010

Something else that’s make a comeback this time is beggars. I saw a family that looked like foreigners sitting near the cave entrance.

Read the bottom of the stairs at around 9.15am. We spent another 15 minutes taking some shots and watching the kavadis. It was getting hot, and as usual, we didn’t waste time milling around the stalls.

From Thaipusam 2010

Left Batu caves around 10am, using MRR2 towards Sentul/Gombak. The other side of the highway was jammed. There’s the new DUKE highway along MRR2 that gives you access to Jalan Duta, Jalan Kuching etc (Toll is RM2). Reached Puchong within 40 minutes.

BTW, the management office looks new (and expensive). I wonder if its really necessary. Maybe the money could have been put to better use, like giant LCD display screens, proper signages and more dustbins.

From Thaipusam 2010

And quite a few banners mentioning Nadarajah’s name in a weird way. It kind of separates him (as the chairman) from the committee. Looks like exercise in self-promotion.

News coverage on Tv2 (Tamil news) and Tv3 (Buletin) showed the visitors quite happy with the improvements done this year. Those interviewed said that it was easier to fulfill their vows.

Read about last year’s Thaipusam article here: 2009.

PR stage to be removed at Batu Caves

January 28th, 2010
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Kesian! But I don’t think PM Najib was supposed to visit on Sunday afternoon, more than 24 hours after Thaipusam since there’s nothing much but rubbish to see after Thaipusam is over.

Police have ordered the Pakatan Rakyat state government to remove a stage set up at Batu Caves for celebrations on the eve of Thaipusam tomorrow despite prior approval from the authorities.

Selangor executive councillor Dr Xavier Jayakumar told The Malaysian Insider he had been informed that this was because Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was scheduled to visit Batu Caves at 9pm tomorrow.

“This is totally unfair, I had met the Gombak Police chief earlier this week at the Selayang Municipal Council and there was no problem.”

Xavier said tomorrow’s celebrations, which starts at 10.30pm, is part of the Selangor Tourism programme which is being hosted by the state government and sponsored by Digi.

“Nobody told us Najib was coming tomorrow and he was only initially supposed to visit on Saturday afternoon.”

The Malaysian Insider is still attempting to contact the Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar for an official comment.

Thaipusam starts early but still no holiday in Kedah

January 25th, 2010
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As the crowd grows bigger every year (and not to mention the negative elements which tend to create chaos and anger among devotees), Thaipusam at Batu Caves sees devotees fulfilling their vows as early as a week before. With the coming Thaipusam falling on a weekend and part of a 3 days holiday in the Federal Territory, one can expect more tourists, and curious onlookers in addition to more crowd from outstation.

Thaipusam may be a week away but there are already devotees making their way up the 272 steps in Batu Caves here to pray and give thanks to Lord Muruga to avoid the crowd on the day of the festival.

Businessman K. Karthigan said his wife and him shaved their heads to give thanks to Lord Muruga for blessing them with a baby boy.

“My wife and I had been trying for a son but my wife had some gynaecological problems.

“However, after praying, her condition got better and was able to bear our son, who is now four months old,” said the 35-year-old when met at the Sri Subramaniam Swamy Temple in Batu Caves on Saturday.

“We came to perform our prayers earlier so that my wife and son would not have to join the Thaipusam crowd,” he added. Karthigan lives in Seremban.

Retiree R. Pathmavathi, 71, who was carrying a pal kodam (milk pot kavadi), said her family and her decided to come early to the temple because she had a difficult experience previously on Thaipusam Day.

“I could not even go beyond the foot of the Batu Caves steps. There were so many people. As we get older, we want to avoid such crowds,” said the grandmother of two.

Indian tourist K. Shrawan, 50, said the majestic Lord Muruga statue at the foot of the caves reminded him of the 17m-tall Sravana Belgola statue at a Jain temple in his country.

“I find Batu Caves very nice and peaceful. We don’t normally see limestone caves back in India,” said the banker, adding that in India Thaipusam was also celebrated on a grand scale.

Sri Maha Mariamman Devasthanam chairman Datuk R. Nadarajah said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein would attend this year’s celebration on Jan 30.

“We are expecting about 1.5 million people. During the PM’s visit, we will urge him to make Thaipusam a national holiday.

“Then, all Malaysians can participate,” he told reporters yesterday.

The Thaipusam celebrations will kick off with the Holy Silver Chariot procession that leaves the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Jalan Tun H.S. Lee early in the night of Jan 29.

It is expected to reach the Batu Caves temple at 11am, followed by a flag-raising ceremony at 4pm to mark the official commencement of the festival.

KTM commuter train service will be available at the Batu Caves station on Thaipusam Day.

Yeah, there are calls every year to make more states declare Thaipusam as a public holiday. I especially wonder what is happening in Kedah. Its the second year running under the PAS government and the promise of public holiday is for Thaipusam still remain unfulfilled. I hope the makkal there will start to pressure their state representatives.

Help to clean up Batu Caves

January 19th, 2010
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Remember Sampah Masyarakat? They started the trend by helping to clean up Batu Caves after Thaipusam last year. They are planning the same this year, so if you are free on 31st January (Sunday), make a beeline to Batu Caves.

Visit their Facebook Event for more details.

Sampah Masyarakat cleans up Batu Caves

February 12th, 2009
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The group of volunteers under “Sampah Masyarakat” got together on Monday, the day after Thaipusam to help clean up the area. The initiative mooted by Shyam via email and Facebook saw abotu 30 volunteers sacrificing their holiday. Unfortunately, I was unable to join in on that day 🙁

Fellow blogger, Puvanan was caught on camera doing his bit. I think few other MindsBlog members also took part:

Puvanan at Batu Caves clean up by Sampah Masyarakat

No easy task: N.Puvanan, 24, (left) and Khairunisa filling up bags with rubbish.

THE Thaipusam celebration at the Batu Caves Temple in Selayang drew a big crowd and as such rubbish was found strewn about. To help clear this, a group of volunteers clad in white T-shirts took charge.

The group of volunteers, who call themselves Sampah Masyarakat, came armed with brooms, shovels and plastic bags and were kept busy from 7am on Monday.

Subscription manager M. Shyam Priah, 35, took the initiative to form the group by sending a global message through the social network Facebook to all her friends requesting for assistance for a massive gotong-royong.

It is Shyam’s way of creating awareness on cleanliness.

“We had about 30 volunteers in the morning and more by noon.

“We have divided the area to three zones from the main gate to the stairs. It is not just about cleaning up because nothing will come out of it.

“We are doing a study on how many times the bins gets filled and how long it takes to see how much rubbish people discard. We want to see if there are enough rubbish bins around the temple.

Big pile: Volunteers R. Rajendran, 42, and Dr Al Wee, 49, helping to clean up the coconut offerings at Batu Caves

“We want to create an awareness at a different level because when the attitude changes, it will last.

“I am glad to see that we have many Malay and Chinese volunteers who came to help in the clean-up,” she said.

Shyam said the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS), Alam Flora and temple committee members were also there to help them.

Student Ming Sing, 24, from Petaling Jaya left her home at 5.30am to volunteer her services in the clean-up.

“This will help create awareness on how we can save the earth.

“It is very surprising to see how people can throw rubbish indiscriminately,” she said.

Project manager Khairunisa Kamaruzaman, 30, decided to join in the good cause after hearing about it from friends.

“I have never been to Batu Caves before. I think this project should continue for other festivals as well. We should focus on reactive measures instead of just using preventive measures,” she said.