I RECENTLY ATTENDED the Thaipusam festival in Kuala Lumpur, at the Batu Caves. This day is celebrated mostly by the Tamils during the Tamil month of Thai on the full moon. It celebrates the birth of the god of war and victory, Murugan. To celebrate, the devotees shave their heads, fast for 48 days before the festival (one vegetarian meal a day is permitted), and carry kavadi (burdens).
In Kuala Lumpur, the festival begins in the city and extends for 15 kilometers to the Batu Caves. Once at the Caves, one must climb 272 steps to the top. With each step, the energy is focused towards sharing and celebrating the collective spirit of the day.