Palani is one of the six bastions of Lord Murugan. The Sri Dhandayudhapani (Murugan) temple is located on Palani hillock (Malai Kovil or hill temple). Thai Poosam is one of the main festivals of Dhandayudhapani temple in Palani. It is a ten days festival. The celestial marriage of Lord Murugan with his two consorts ‘Sri Valli’ and ‘SriDeivanai’ will takes place. On the seventh day the Lord and his consorts will be taken in a car and the procession will be along the four Ratha streets. On the tenth day there will be float festival. The festival attracts lot of devotees. People from all over the state proceed to Palani by walk. Some people vows to offer a kavadi to the Lord. They will observe fast and break their fast once their vow is fulfilled. About ten thousand kavadis are offered during Thai Poosam festival. People believe that all their miseries will be mitigated by the Lord. Kavadi is a “flattened pole with loads at the ends.” The pole would be made up of wood or metal. Some people would like to carry simple pole while others prefer to carry decorated poles. The pots attached on either side may be filled with milk or water from holy river Cauvery. Some may prefer to bring flowers. Some other may prefer to carry kavadi decorated with peacock feathers. The kavadi bearers duly garlanded and dressed in yellow costume, commence their pilgrimage from far off places and proceed by walk. On the way there will be ‘Kavadi Attam’ or dance by the devotees. The supporters will recite the Tamil song ‘Kavadi-Chindhu.’ People also vow to feed these Kavadi bearers.
Batu Caves (Malaysia)
Batu caves, Malaysia is the extremely popular shrine dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is one of the well recognized Murugan shrine outside India. The shrine is located near Kuala Lumpur. You have to travel 13 Km from Kuala Lumpur to reach the temple. The temple is located in a typical limestone hill. You will find a series of caves or cave temples. Along the hill the famous Sungai Batu River flows. The Thai Poosam festival of Batu caves Murugan Temple is celebrated in grandeur. This most popular Thai Poosam festival outside India attracts around one and half million devotees from Singapore as well as from India and Australia. We can boldly state that this is the only place wherein largest devotees participate in the festival. On Thai Poosam day the devotees organize an eight hour procession from Mahamariamman Temple, kuala Lumpur to Batu caves at early morning in the wee hours of the morning. Devotees vowed to offer kavadi will carry different types of kavadis. As described earlier, some extremists will pierce their tongue or cheeks with a sharp shaft. Some other will pierce hooks other shoulders and pull toy cars. After a holy dip in the Sungei Batu River, the devotees and kavadi bearers will climb the 272 step stairway leading to the hill-cave temple. At the sanctum sanctorum the priests will help the devotees to remove their hooks from the body. They will apply the holy ash on the wound. By god’s grace there is no blood coming from the hook pierced flesh. Another cave temple or the Sri Subramanian Temple at Gunong Cheroh, Ipoh, Malaysia also celebrates Thai Poosam. Yet another place is at the Nattukottai Chettiar Temple along Jalan Waterfall in Penang.
Thaipusam is celebrated with grandeur in Singapore. The devotees commence the celebrations on the preceding day of Thai Poosam. Lord Murugan is placed in the Silver Chariot and taken out in a procession to Layan Sithi Vinayagar temple and in the evening the chariot returns back. The Chettiar Kavadies and other devotees follow the chariot. People call this event as Chetty Pusam in Singapore. On Thaipusam day, you will find larger number of devotees. In Singapore also certain devotees vow to offer prayers by piercing their bodies with spikes and spears. They also pull toy chariots by hooks (hooks are pierced and attached on their back) from Srinivasa Perumal Temple. All kinds of Kavadis are also carried by them. The holy spear (Vel) in the sanctum sanctorum is bathed with milk continuously for a longer duration. Here you will find number of Chinese devotees as well as other religious people and even other races offering prayers and fulfill their vows.
Thai Poosam is also celebrated to Lord Subramanian at Mauritius. As told earlier the extreme devotees from Mauritius also ‘sport anatomy-defying piercings of all kinds.’ There are other type kavadis offered by the devotees. VICTORIA, Australia: Thai Poosam celebration was reported at Sri Shiva Vishnu Temple, 52. Boundary Road, Carrum Downs, Victoria – 3201. The Hindu Society of Victoria, Celebrated the festival on 1.2.2007. There was an Abishekam for Lord Subramanian at 5.15pm and the Rathothsavam followed at 7.45pm. Devotees carried kavadis and milk pots (Pal kudam) and offered to the Lord. The prime deity and his consorts were decorated with flowers and jewelry. The deity was taken out in palanquin. There was also rathothsavam on the same day. Prasadam and annadanam was served to all devotees.
Sydney Murugan Temple
Celebrate Thai Poosam as a simple event. There will be the worship of the lamp.
South Africa Poosam Kavadi Festival
The Tamil community at South Africa celebrates Thai Poosam festival every year. The devotees offer honey and pots of milk to Lord Murugan. You will find thousands of yellow-clad devotees carrying spectacular kavadis. You may hear the emotional charged chants of vel, vel! The idol of Lord Subramanian (or Lord Murugan) is placed on a silver chariot and taken out for a procession.
1) Astrouniverse - http://www.astrouniverse.com/homam/special_puja.php
2) EPrarthana - About Thaipusam -http://www.eprarthana.com/offers/thaipusam/thaipusam.asp
3) Following Murukan: Tai Pucam in Singapore by Gauri Parimoo Krishnan http://murugan.org/research/gauri_krishnan.htm
4) Palani – Thai Pucam - http://palani.org/taippucam.htm
5) Thaipoosam Cavadee Mauritius http://www.whatsonwhen.com/sisp/index.htm?fx=event&event_id=38904
6) Thai Poosam in Australia : (News Reporter, Nagarajan Murugan, Victoria) http://www.dinamalar.com/Ulagatamilargal_English/2007feb06/australia.asp
7) Thai Pusam - http://www.sttemple.com/STT/english/thaipusam.asp
8) Thai Poosam Kavady festival in South Africa http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_Poosam_Kavady
9) The Hindu - Thai Poosam festival to commence on February 2 http://www.thehindu.com/2009/01/16/stories/2009011657300600.htm
10) Wikipedia – Batu Caves - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batu_Caves
11) Wikipedia – Thaipusam http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaipusam
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