Why is Thaipusam celebrated in Batu Caves
Thaipusam is a Tamil holiday that takes place every year in January or February. The name Thaipusam is derived from a combination of two words: the Tamil month of Thai and the star Pusam, which is at its brightest during the festival. Thaipusam is a Hindu festival that commemorates Lord Murugan's victory over the demon Surapadman with the use of his lance. Thaipusam is also thought to be Lord Murugan's birthday celebration. The Hindus would make sacrifices and pray for pardon and blessings from the Lord. We can see spiritual pilgrims wearing kavadis symbolic of burdens that entail extensive body piercings.
Why Batu Caves then?
Many might wonder why do our Hindu friends celebrate Thaipusam in Batu Caves? Why does the temple in Batu Cave look like something from a dream? Maybe because it was inspired by a dream! An influential trader named K. Thamboosamy Pillai had a dream about the Hindu Goddess Shakti asking him to build a shrine of Lord Murugan on top of Bukit Batu which is now known as Batu Caves. When he went to the cave he noticed that the main entrance was shaped like Lord Murugan’s spear (vel).
In the year 1888, The two men named Thamboosamy and his friend Kanthapa Thevar put in a vel to signify the existence of a deity in the cave. The following year Thaipusam was celebrated for the first time in Batu Caves. Shortly after the Temple in the cave was founded they added Lord Murugan as deity in the cave too.
Because of the natural beauty and the temple’s dedication to this Hindu deity, It has made Batu Caves the main focus of Malaysia's Thaipusam festival. Hindu worshippers from all across Malaysia would come to Batu Caves every year to pay respect to Lord Murugan and climb the 272 stairs to pray at his majestic temple.