The yearly temple festival, Thaipusam, is a celebration among the Hindu community on the full moon based on their calendar. On this day each year, we see streets and main roads bustling with noise and excitement with chariot procession activities such as Kavadi Aattam and breaking of coconuts. As a tradition, the festivity is carried out by devotees for offerings and repentance after the 10-day fasting.
If you are interested in knowing more about how it’s celebrated, we’ve made a post about the Thaipusam festival in Malaysia last year. This time, however, will be different than usual due to the rise of pandemic concerns. Thaipusam in 2021 faces drastic changes with the implementation of MCO and CMCO in many states in Malaysia. Devotees, except for those from the RMCO states, are encouraged by the government to conduct their prayer at home instead to ensure the safety of citizens.
While the celebration may not be the same, it’s always good to look back to how we enjoyed the festival before so that it brings back memories and increases the festive spirit in us. In this post, we are going to discover some of the five temples across our country that hosted Thaipusam parades every year.
Kuil Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani, Penang
(Image credit: Waterfall Hilltop Temple, Penang)
The Kuil Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple, or also known as The Waterfall Hilltop Temple, which is located in Botanical Garden, has been one of the focal points for the annual Thaipusam celebration since 1800. Despite not being the very first Hindu temple in Penang, the main tower is renowned as the largest temple other than the Lord Murugan Temple in India (21.6 meter tall building).
During Thaipusam, they usually have the public ritual along the street of Jalan Kebun Bunga which is wide enough to accommodate approximately seven hundred thousand devotees.
Address: 17, Jalan Kebun Bunga, Pulau Tikus, 10350 George Town, Penang.
Tourplus App: https://app.tourplus.my/ExqZU4zsqHydE1Rv8
Kallumalai Arulmigu Subramaniyar Temple, Ipoh
(Image credit: Ipoh Kallumalai & Buntong Mariamman Temple Youth Section)
Thinking about the tranquil religious site in Ipoh, there’s always one that comes into mind- Kallumalai Arulmigu Subramaniyar Temple! Used to be an in-cave temple, Kallumalai Murugan (its second name) has its building on the banks of the Kinta River.
On usual days, the temple is well-known for its peaceful ambiance. Tourists and even locals always like visiting the place for sightseeing and prayer as well. While it’s geographically situated in the outskirts area, the serene shrine is turned into a lively house-of-worship
During Thaipusam where cars and people flood the entire place for the procession, which makes this temple the third-largest Thaipusam temple in Malaysia.
Address: 140, Jalan Raja Musa Aziz, 30300 Ipoh, Perak.
Tourplus App: https://app.tourplus.my/So5QfrnXYf9T2Kkn7
Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur
Batu Caves is definitely a tourist attraction and also a Hindu temple that is popular among Malaysians in general. Not only that this temple is one of the must-go travel spots in this country that has received its reputation as the 10th Hill for Lord Muruga, but all local students would also stumble across its name in school textbooks. With the limestone hill made up of three major caves and some smaller caverns in Gombak, Selangor, Batu Caves is famous for having statues constructed inside the caves of over four hundred million years.
Being identified as another focal point of Thaipusam in Malaysia, Batu Caves attracts more tourists and devotees than any other temples with its bright-coloured parade and various kavadi decorations, all happening in the evening.
Address: Gombak, 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor.
Tourplus App: https://app.tourplus.my/2ujzuB2UH5AP5vYB6
Arulmigu Rajamariamman Devasthanam, Johor Bahru
(Image credit: Arulmigu Rajamariamman Devasthanam JB)
Since 1911, this 100-year-old-temple has been strategically located in the center of Johor Bahru. Having Goddess Mariamman as the main deity, Arulmigu Rajamariamman Devasthanam installed other deities such as Murugan, Vinayagar, Durgai, and more. Apart from allowing devotees to do prayers, the Devasthanam hosted youth activities for the community in Johor Bahru as well.
During Thaipusam, the parade in Arulmigu Rajamariamman Devasthanam would usually see devotees walking from the said temple to the Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple.
Address: 1a, Jalan Ungku Puan, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor.
Tourplus App: https://app.tourplus.my/XELVYQWyZscE2B2P7
Sri Srinivasagar Kaliamman Temple, Kuching
(Image credit: @shanaliaone)
While there are many famous temples in Peninsula, one can identify Sri Srinivasagar Kaliamman Temple from Kuching, Sarawak as one of the most peaceful Hindu temples in East Malaysia. It’s built at a strategic location as there’s a continental hotel right next to it and the temple itself is nearby the city center as well.
Likewise others, Sri Srinivasagar Kaliamman hosted the Thaipusam procession as well and the walk usually goes from the banks of the Sarawak River to the Sri Mariamman Temple at Rock Road.
Address: 412, Jalan Ban Hock, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak.
Tourplus App: https://app.tourplus.my/ztAurMpyNZNfu9fJ8
Given the current situation, it’s difficult to celebrate Thaipusam this year as it used to be. However, this limitation shouldn’t hinder fellow devotees from remembering and commemorating the recognition of Lord Muruga in making this world a safer place from evils. Tourplus would also like to wish all Tamil Hindu in Malaysia an early Happy Thaipusam Day.