During my recent trip to Malaysia I had a chance to witness an amazing Hindu festival called Thaipusam. It is originally celebrated in the southern states of India, but since most Hindu people in Malaysia come from there, Thaipusam is a big deal in Malaysia as well.
The festival lasts two days, with the first being devoted to the Hindu god called Murugan. Devotees gather in the morning to witness the statue of Murugan being placed in the silver chariot. Then the chariot, pulled by two bulls, travels to the Hindu temple located 10km further. On the way the chariot stops many times to allow devotees to presetn their offerings (mostly fruit) to Murugan.
The procession is led by the group of man carring kavadi, a heavy wooden structure, which is carried as a sacrifice. The man stop every time the chariot stops, and perform traditional dance.
Another interesting part of the celebration is coconut smashing. They are smashed in thousands, and the purpose is to get to the white flesh, symbolising the purity of the soul.
The procession takes over 12h to travel the 10km journey and ends at Nattukottai Chettiar temple. But it is not the end of Thaipusam. The second day is even more incredible. Stay tuned for more!