Batu Caves Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple
The Batu Caves Temple in Malaysia stands out as a monumental focal point of the significant contribution made by the Indian settlers in the development of Malaya and then Malaysia (1963). The 113 year old main temple, dedicated to Lord Subramaniar (Karttikeya), is lodged in a cave about 400 feet above ground level.
It is the main cave, the temple cave, in a hilly massif known as Bukit Batu, Rocky Hill. The name is derived from the name of a nearby river known as Sungai Batu, Rocky River in the Malay Language, the National Language of Malaysia.
Arrival of the Tamils
Devotion, cultural heritage and love for the Tamil Language are the priorities for the Tamil Race. Wherever they reach, together they bring those fundamental qualities. The life-style of the Tamils is situated around the surroundings of temple shrine. They strongly believe that their life is destined by the supreme power.
Within the four seas, they travelled to search for fortune. In the 18th and 19th century, Malaya (now Malaysia) was no optional. The ancestors who came here, brought along with them the Divine Mother – Sri Maha Mariamman and his “Gnana Kulantai“, Sri Subramaniar to be worshipped and prayed for their protection. Thus Sri Maha Mariamman Temple was built in 1873 in Kuala Lumpur.
In 1891, K. Thambusamy Pillai, an influential descendent of Indian immigrants from Tamilnadu, India, the founder President of the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur, installed the murti (consecrated statue) of Sri Subramania Swamy in what is today known as the Temple Cave. Since 1892, the Thaipusam festival in the Tamil month of Thai (which falls in late January/early February) has been celebrated there.
Thaipusam is grandiose affair! It attracts about a million worshippers and tourists from within the country and abroad over three days of festivities. Nowhere else in the world (not even India) is this festival celebrated on such a grand scale.
Thaipoosam or Thaipusam falls annually on the full- moon day in the Tamil month of Thai which occurs between January 14th and February 15th. This is when the moon moves through the zodiac period of Cancer according to the Indian Calender.
The day also marks the day on which Lord Siva danced with His Consort Uma and the day on which Karttikeya (Murugan, Subramaniam and, the numerous other names by which is known to His devotees) received the divine spear, Vel, from His Mother. He is greatly adored by Tamilians all over the world.
Throngs of people begin to converge at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur and Batu Caves on the eve of Thaipusam. The murti of Sri Subramaniar Swamy which resides in the Kuala Lumpur temple throughout the rest of the year, is bathed and elaborately decorated on the eve; and, on the following day, Thaipusam, a bullock drawn chariot winds its way through the city on its way to the Temple Cave – an annual journey to mark the occasion. The gleaming, elaborately lit, silver chariot towers to an awe inspiring 21 feet above ground level.
The chariot stops at several points along its journey to allow gatherings of devotees to offer prayers and smash coconuts on the roads as a mark of the supremacy of good over evil.
(Continue to next page)