Thaipusam is one of the most intense festivals in the world that takes place in January or February of each year.
Originating from India, the Hindu festival is most grandly celebrated in Malaysia attracting millions of devotees and curious tourists alike.
Thaipusam is celebrated in honour of the Hindu god, Muruga. Weeks before the festival starts, devotees fast and practice self-restraint as they prepare to carry the Kavadi.
The kavadi is a decorated structure containing pots of milk, often 3-4 feet in height, weighing more than 7 kg. The kavadi comes in many forms and are often decorated with colourful led lights and decorations.
On the day of the festival, the bearers head to the river for a dip before they are pierced while under a trance with hooks and spears in the form of the vel (weapon of choice of Lord Muruga).
Spurred by the chants of vel! vel! and the sounds of the drums called urumi melam, they dance and walk towards the Batu Caves steps before climbing 272 steps to reach the caves.
I have been photographing the festival for the last 12 years at Batu Caves in Malaysia. I began looking at different ways to shoot the festival and started doing slow shutter photography to capture the exhilarating music and passion of the devotees.
This year’s festival will take place on 31 January 2018.
For more information on packages and schedule.
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