Thaipusam 2016   Leave a comment

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Thaipusam, Thaipoosam (Tamil: தைப்பூசம், Taippūcam ?)(Malayalam: തൈപ്പൂയം,Thaippūyam) is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). It is mainly observed in countries where there is a significant presence of Tamil community such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, South Africa, Guadalupe, Reunion, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.

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The word Thaipusam is a combination of the name of the month, Thai, and the name of a star, Pusam. This particular star is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a Vel “spear” so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman. There is a misconception among people that Thaipusam marks Murugan’s birthday; however, it is believed that Vaikhasi Vishakam, which falls in the Vaikhasi month (May/June), is Murugan’s birthday.

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Outside India, Thaipusam celebrations take place in USA, Mauritius, Malaysia and Singapore. It is a public holiday in several states in Malaysia. In Malaysia, the temple at Batu Caves, near Kuala Lumpur & Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple, Penang near George Town, Penang , often attracts over one million devotees and tens of thousands of tourists. In Singapore, Hindu devotees start their procession at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in the early morning, carrying milk pots as offerings or attaching “kavadis” and spikes pierced on their body. The procession travels for 4 kilometres before finishing at Tank Road, Sri Thendayuthapani Temple. In USA Concord Shiva Murugan Temple celbrates the Thaipoosam preceded by walk. Some people walk more than 46 miles from Fremont, California and some walk 21 miles from San Ramon, California to Concord and most walk 7 miles from Walden park, Walnut Creek to Concord. Over couple of thousand people participated in the walk for last several years.

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We have just reached Penang in the afternoon at 3.30pm from Kuala Lumpur/Petaling Jaya by the 10.30am Aeroline Express Bus. After taking a short rest of 5 hours, I went to a street nearby my house and managed to take a few shots of Lord Murugan’s Chariot of Thaipusam 2016 on his homewards journey back to the Temple in the inner city of George Town. The Procession was expected to reach the Temple at 5.00 am or thereabout.

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I had missed two days of photo-shooting as the Thaipusam Celebrations started from Saturday, January 23, 2016 with the Procession of the Chariot carring Lord Murugan image to Waterfall Garden Temple. The second day that was Sunday, January 23, 2016 was the day when devotees carry kavadi and some with pierced hooks and skewers on their body heading tiwards the Waterfall Garden Temple. The third day of the Thaipusam celebrations fell on Monday, January 25, 2016 ie when the Chariot shall head homewards tonight.

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The 7.6 km return journey on Monday, January 25, 2016 would begin at 6.00 pm and should encompass the following roads (jalan in Malay) – Jalan Air Terjun (Waterfall Road), Jalan Gottlieb, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman (formerly Ayer Rajah Road), Jalan Cantonment (road of my house but at the other end), Jalan Macalister, Jalan Anson, Jalan Burma, Jalan Transfer, Jalan Sri Bahari, Jalan Penang, Lebuh Campbell, Lebuh Buckingham, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling (formerly Pitt Street), Lebuh Chulia, Lebuh Queen, Lebuh Pasar, Lebuh Penang, Lebuh China, Lebuh Pantai, Lebuh Pasar, and Lebuh Penang.
This is the usual Thaipusam Celebrations in Penang, Malaysia.

Note : Lebuh is Malay word for Street as Jalan is for Road. Pasar meant Market in Malay. As Penang was used to be a British Colonial Straits Settlement in the past, some of the roads and streets are named after British Kings, Queens, Governors-General of India, or other VIPs or European settlers or VIPs.

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Till next year hopefully, I can photo-shoot the 3 days’ Thaipusam Celebrations in 2017.

SP Lim


Posted January 26, 2016 by lspeng1951 in Photography

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