On the 27th of January 2013, I managed to witness this happening yet incredible event here in my hometown in Ipoh! What event it is? It's Thaipusam - the divine Hindu celebration!
When I was on my way to the Ipoh town, I saw pilgrims carrying heavy Kavadis, walking along the street on their way to the temple. After parking the car, I walked to the temple. Small stores were set up and many devotees offer free drinks (milk tea, white coffee, water etc) and food along the road.
The large crowds in the temple were overwhelming. All the Kavadis came back to the temple one at a time after parading the town. Drums were pounding, whistles blowing, men and women cheering, singing and chanting prayers while tourists whispered to one another in awe. The sheer size and weight of the kavadis made the scene impressive enough, but that is not the only hardship the carrier would endure that day. They were suffering through heat and exhaustion as well! Despite all this, they showed no sign of pain or discomfort as they carried the giant metal structure upon their body.
They were encouraged by an exuberant group of followers, girls and men danced around them over megaphones. At times the carrier would break into wild dances, their body gyrating as they lunged back and forth upon their toes and spun in dizzying circles, all the while managing the kavadi that stood tall upon their body.
I saw many people with cameras, running up and down the temple, photographing the procession of believers and kavadi-carriers.
When the sun was at the height of its splendor, I decided to make a move. However, there was a stall by the roadside stole my attention from all the rest! It was a small Henna Drawing store. Without any hesitation, I got myself a pair of henna pattern drawn on both of my hands, which cost me RM8 before I went back home.
This is by far the most fascinating festival I have ever taken part in and I look forward for the next year's Thaipusam. Besides, I think this is the best time to come and get to know the cultures and religions of different races. From experiencing it, we can grow to respect each other and be able to really work together.