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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spiritual Thaipusam

Last Tue, Daddy pop by to witness his first Thaipusam celebration.
Ironically, as a Chinese, Daddy has not been to any Taoism or Buddhism events yet :p


Thaipusam is meant to celebrate Lord Murugan's victory over evil.
As part of the celebration, devotees will walk overnight from Sri Srinivasa Perumal temple (Serangoon road) to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple (Tank road) Some will carry milk pots, and others will carry Kavadis.


You may pop over to wiki Thaipusam any one time, to get the definition of terms or significance of rituals.


A 10min walk from Farrer Park MRT, will lead you to the majestic Sri Srinivasa Perumal temple.
It seems like only devotees are allowed through the front gate, so Daddy make his way to back door.
As a mark of respect, please remove your footwear.


We can see various Kavadis in the center compound, some are already decked up. Kavadi looks hugh upfront, and it will be amazing how our Indian friends cart them and march 4.5km tomorrow.

Groups of devotees sitting in a group, offerings of fruits for their Gods, and chanting their prayers.

Peacock feathers are used extensively as decorations everywhere.

Preparation of Milk pots. These will be carried over Devotee's head as they march to Tank road.

All Devotees look serene, eager and ready for their big event. We get to hear chants sounding like "Huat Ah" (not the Chinese version. Daddy understand this is an Indian ritual to invoke and get close to Gods)

Designated devotee will enter into a trance, and it will take a few men to hold him down. (I am not here to judge, but each religion has it's own rituals. We can definitely respect each other's beliefs).

Daddy is very proud that in Singapore, everyone can practice their own faiths with freedom.
Multi-cultural events will bring a dimension of richness and colours to our society.

Meanwhile, more and more people are worshiping in the Temple. Curious tourist and photographers
can be spotted mingling among the devotees.
Devotees ready to honour their Gods.

Thaipusam is very much a family event, showering support for one's family, relatives or friends.

You will be surprised how families openly accept our requests for photos. Everyone is so friendly !
We hear even those devotee pierced with heavy Kavadi will gladly slow down for you :)

Other interesting sights within the Temple. It is very interesting to see Chinese, Caucasian
mingling among the crowd. Most are here out of curiosity (just like Daddy).


Temple compound is crowded and can be smoky! Everyone is anticipating the midnight hour.
(Daddy's Nikon D5000 was hunting desperately to get the focus point, manual-focus seem to work better)

Soak in the atmosphere, the sound, the scent, the Sight !!

Just before midnight, the first wave of devotees are ready to walk, with their milk pots.


At Midnight, devotees, with milk pots over their head start their slow walk to Tank road.
The trial will last from midnight to the next day 10pm !


Mesmerising lights along Serangoon road..


Rest points along the route, to ensure no one goes thirsty or hungry. Volunteers will be inviting visitors for some treats too :)



More information about Thaipusam or other Indian festivals are available at Hindu Endowment Board.
You may drop by Jerome's blog post, to view more about the morning Kavadi walk.

For more photos, do drop by our SengkangBabies Fanpage.
(most photos are not sharp, as Daddy struggles to focus his lens )

See you again,Thaipusam, in 2013 Jan.



** Pardon my ignorance,
if I have misrepresented any facts or ritual, I offer my humble apologies, please feel free to correct me.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Tips (including tips for those without the luxury of 70-200 F2.8 lens :p )

Logistics
- for those driving, you can park at 'Plaza by the Park' (per entry $2.20 after 5pm), then take MRT to Farrer Park MRT
- From Farrer Park MRT, follow the crowd
- 8pm onwards preparation will be ongoing in Temple, it gets more crowded until the 11th hour
- Organisers might block you at front gate, go to the back gate. Remove your footwear !
- Spend 2 hours indoor at Serangoon Temple, 2 hours follow procession, and 1 hour at Tank road temple.
- devotees are friendly, but do not let your photography get in the way of their rituals


Timing
- 0800 - prepartion starts
- 0001 - Devotees will march off with milk pots. They will go in intervals, to prevent bottleneck.
- 0600 onwards - Kavadi will start moving off
- 1600 to 1800 - another cycle of Kavadi

Photography
- Indoor close proximity, Flash might be intrusive, use big Aperture instead.
- My humble lens struggles to auto-focus, under dim light and smoke, end up I have more success with manual-focus
- For night procession, bring your external flash along
- Wear comfortable footwear, as sidewalk is uneven


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