Tuesday, March 17, 2009

8 Feb 2009: Thaipusam

It must have been due to novelty and the enthusiasm to do a simple coverage of Thaipusam to share with my friends such that I could bring myself to wake up early in the morning of 8 Feb 2009 even though I had slept terribly late at close to 2 a.m. after returning home from the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple past midnight.

I figured that the best way to travel to the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, which is the start of the Thaipusam procession, would be by the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). This proved to be a good choice. The morning sun was already pretty bright. I did not mind that because that meant brighter colours in the photographs that I would take for the day.

I spent about two hours in the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple watching the various religious ceremonies and the preparation for the Thaipusam procession that took place there. I shall let the photographs tell some of the stories.

Lemon lamps.

Milk pots and garlands.

The offerings made.

These are the tools used for the spike kavadi.

Outside the temple, devotees can be seen making their way from Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple. Most of the devotees did so barefooted. As I watched the devotees in the Thaipusam procession making their journey of faith to their destination, I felt a sense of awe and respect for their devotion and strong faith.

Here is a video that I had taken along Serangoon Road.

Musicians form an important part of the festival even though they are not the bearers of the kavadis. As I witness the procession, I think the music played by the musicians have an encouraging and positive effect on the bearers of the kavadis. It was not an easy journey of 4 kilometres to make from the starting point to the destination. The music, I would think, had in some ways cheered the bearers along when the signs of exhaustion and physical discomforts set in.

I think it is noteworthy to mention the volunteers and sponsors who had set up make-shift tents that gave out free food and drinks to the devotees and members of the public who were taking part in the Thaipusam festival. I thought such gestures were like sharing good blessings with others, particularly those who may not be able to afford a square meal. The provision of free drinks also came helpful to the devotees who were walking their journey of faith to Tank Road as it was possibly refreshing to have a sip of water when one's body gets dehydrated due to the hot sunny weather.

I surprised myself by following the route of the devotees all the way to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple. When I reached Tank Road, the queue to enter the temple was very long. I had wanted to leave the queue, but when I enquired, the only legitimate exit out of the queue was to follow the queue all the way to the temple, and then one could find the exit once one is in the main hall of the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple. That queue from the start of Tank Road to the exit of Sri Thendayuthapani Temple took me about an hour of patient wait.

I was in the queue outside the temple with the devotees.

Finally, I was inside the temple.

Here is where the kavadis are being dismantled.

By the time that I had taken the exit out of Sri Thendayuthapani Temple, my legs were aching. Having gone through the experience of aching legs, I would now strongly recommend that anyone who wishes to join the Thaipusam procession and the journey of 4 kilometres to please start off wth some warm-up exercises before embarking on the long journey. I realised it not only takes physical energy but also a lot of mental discipline to have the determination and faith to walk that long 4 kilometres journey. It was already quite a challenge for yours truly even though I was not carrying a kavadi, and I was walking with shoes on. I am deeply moved by the devotees' strong faith and devotion.

I am glad that I had set aside time to witness the Thaipusam festival for it reminded me that with faith and discipline, what may seem impossible can be achievable.


mistipurple said...

you passed the test too, py.
walking that distance in the hot sun was no joking matter. and you took the pic on the same bridge i was on too, yeah! :)

Doreen said...

So did you gals (Misti and Py) bum into each other then? Hehehehe

Very informative post, thanks for sharing PY.

EastCoastLife said...

I wanted to take the 4km procession but was not properly attired for it. Maybe next year. :)

oceanskies79 said...

Misti: Yes, I realised that we had taken our pictures from the same bridge, but at different times of the day.

Doreen: Nope we didn't...not that day. Thanks for your compliments.

Eastcoastlife: The right attire next year then. :)