Fulfilling Thaipusam vows as a family

Hemend (left) with his family and friends. -Starpic

KUALA LUMPUR: The roads and area surrounding Batu Caves turned yellow as thousands of Hindu families and devotees, clad in traditional yellow attire, flocked to take part in Thaipusam celebrations today.

Coming from various walks of life, tens of thousands climbed the 272 steps of Batu Caves to fulfil their vows to Lord Muruga with some arriving in the wee hours of the early morning to avoid the crowds.

English teacher, Yashini Mohan, 27 came with the women of her family - her mother, sisters, aunt and cousins - from Nilai to fulfil their vows.

They came in the wee hours at 2am to complete their walk up the steps of Batu Caves with paal kudam (milk pots).

The pilgrimage was completed by 4am, with two elderly members of the group, Yashini's mother, Mageswary, 53 and aunt Saraswathy, 59.

"We made the trip up together as a family and it was a tough climb as my sister's legs are not very strong," said Mageswary.

"Over 20 years, we have been faithfully coming to Batu Caves to pray for good health, education and other special requests.

"The crowd this time is less compared with last year but more will come in the evening when it is cooler. Some may have offered their prayers yesterday or a few days before.

"This is one of the most special festivals for us and we must come every year," said Yashini.

A 28-year-old devotee, who only wished to be known as Hemend, said he had come to Batu Caves every year since he was born. He came together with his mom, sister and family friends.

Like most devotees, he and his family were barefooted so that they would not kill any small life as they walked.

"In preparation for Thaipusam, we ate vegetarian meals for 30 days," said Hemend.

They came from Kepong to Batu Caves at 4am today using the KTM train.

"It was a struggle for the nine-year-old child to carry the paal kudam to offer prayers, so we helped him along the way.

"Years ago, my family friend and his wife shaved their heads to fulfil their vows when their son was born after 14 years of marriage," he added.

A devotee who wished to be known as Jeeva, came with his wife, Darshini, two-year-old son, 60-year-old mother, and his brother and sister-in-law. They came from Seremban, then took a midnight KTM train ride to Batu Caves.

"The train ride was already packed by 1am," said Darshini.

Together, they climbed up the steps with paal kudam (milk pot) and it took them more than four hours to reach the top. Jeeva carried his two-year-old son on his shoulders all the way up.

"We prayed for good health and wealth for my family, but also especially for my young son's health," Darshini added.

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Batu Caves , Thaipusam , Family


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