Thaipusam 2012 – My Journey
For those unfamiliar with Thaipusam, read my previous introductory post about the festival here.
It is ironic that for the last 20 odd years, I’ve stayed within a stone’s throw away from a Hindu temple but I’ve never experienced Thaipusam in the flesh before. Heck, there were some years when the procession went right pass my doorstep and all I did was peek from my house window. What else have I been missing all these years?
Fast forward to the afternoon of Feb 8, 2012 I find myself in Singapore taking a public bus to the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple to experience and photograph the festival that is Thaipusam. When I arrived at Little India, the festival was well under way. Rail barricades were erected along the roads to separate the crowd from the procession.
I stopped along the way to photograph the kavadi’s on procession, their proud bearers moving in rhythm and almost dancing to the beat of the drums. Friends and families accompany the bearers giving their support, chanting and singing along the way.
As I arrived at the temple, I noticed that there were many other non-devotees like myself around – curious tourists, fellow photographers and even a horde of school children on a field trip accompanied by their teachers.
I made my way to the temple grounds where the kavadi bearers make preparations for their journey ahead. As everyone around busied themselves with the rituals and preparation, I observed a loving mother and child moment in the background.
I spent the entire afternoon here photographing devotees preparing the kavadi for the procession (more of that in another blog post). Unfortunately, I lost track of time and was running late for an appointment. So I did not follow the kavadi’s to their end point at Sri Thandayuthapani Temple. Note to self: something to document and photograph next year.
As I left the temple and reflected upon my day, I was left in awe and admiration at the amount of pain and suffering one is willing to go through for faith and religion. For a moment, I thought I was in a foreign land, seeing and experiencing a culture that is most unique and inspiring.