Kuala Lumpur, Batu Caves and Hindu Festival Thaipusam (Malaisiya)
Русская версия Having arrived in Kuala Lumpur from Penang, we learned that we were lucky to come in the right time: the next day the Tamil festival of Thaipusam was supposed to take place in Batu Caves nearby. This festival is celebrated only in India and in some places with high Hindu population outside of India. The festival marks the mythological occasion when Parvati goddess gave Murugan god a spear, so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman.
We learned about how lucky we were from our couchsurfer Liana and her friend Bahira. They did not only host us, but also cooked a great dinner and were telling interesting stories and facts, including those about Islam so widespread in Malaysia. The teacher of English, Liana told nobody forces people to come to Islam in Malaysia, and that is why it is becoming even more popular. Still, Malaysia is a place for many other religions, and Kuala Lumpur is widely known for its Hindu Batu Caves temple not far from the city, where Thaipusam takes place. Liana gave us a ride there the next morning, although it is also easy to reach the temple by metro – to Batu station.
First of all we saw the pilgrims and Kavadi dancers. The pilgrims take a route from Sri Mahamariamman temple to Batu caves (8 kilometres), and Kavadi is performed to thank Murugan and to ask him for protection and help. Kavadi-bearers carry the so-called Kavadi constructions on them – it is written everywhere that the construction is based on pins and needles which pierce the body of the carrier. The basis looks like the soft shoulder straps though. Every dancer is accompanied by several helpers sympathizing with the performance of the martyr.
Here one may also shave his or her head which is recommended for the festival.
The pilgrims bring an offer of milk for Murugan.
A small market is situated at the temple, all the attributes for the festival maybe purchased there.
The temple ladder is certainly impressive. Some write that that it is as tall as a 9-storey building.
Still, one has to be very careful on the ladder: many tourists complain that it may be very slippery during the rain. But at any weather there is another danger – monkeys, very cute on the first sight…
But jerks in fact. This one, for instance, stole a plastic bag from the woman who was walking next to us. Keep your belongings and do not even try to pat the monkeys.
And this is the temple. Once the caves were used as a shelter, and then the British colonialists let the local Hindus found the shrine here. In 1891, an influential Tamil businessman installed a sacred Hindu statue here. Next year Thaipusam was celebrated in the Caves.
Having seen enough of the temple, we decided to go further, but nobody could tell us how to get out of there. The music from the loud speakers was blowing up our minds. We even tried to take a taxi, but when a taxi driver asked 30 dollars, we made and effort, found metro, and got to the central station.
Kuala Lumpur metro is very convenient and easy to understand as soon as you get there.
Not far from the central station there is a Police museum – very nice and free. It exhibits a collection of uniforms, guns, and transport of Malaysian police of different ages, with the description in English.
Kuala Lumpur itself is a great mixture of contemporary business architecture, colonial buildings and all kinds of temples.
There are street food stalls with great food and markets with Chinese goods everywhere.
And the policemen easily agree to take pictures.
On the way to the airport you may see one more important sight – Formula-1 circuit.
This is how our acquaintance with Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia ended. We got very positive impressions from the country – tasty food, nice people (moreover, speaking English), a diversity of religions, cultures, landscape and architecture. But the adventures called us to move further and on the same evening we departed by Air Asia to Ho Chi Minh.