Thaipusam is mainly observed in countries with a significant presence of the Tamil community, such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Mauritius, as well as other places where ethnic Tamils reside. In addition, Thaipusam is a national holiday in many countries, such as Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Mauritius.
Thaipusam in Malaysia in the Year 2023 falls on the 5th and 6th of February, from Sunday to Monday. During these three days holidays, you can go on a short getaway, enjoy a road trip, treat yourself to a relaxing staycation or spend some time with your family doing fun family activities and taking part in the Thaipusam festivities. Here are the following 13 best things to do during Thaipusam 2023.
What is the story behind Thaipusam?
This Hindu festival commemorates the feats of the Hindu deity, Lord Subramaniam, son of Lord Siva and Goddess Sakti. According to the Hindu mythological book, “Skanda Purana,” Thaipusam was when Lord Subramaniam appeared before his devotees mounted on a peacock known as his “vahana”‘ or vehicle. It also acknowledges Lord Subramaniam’s triumph over the evil forces.
Who celebrates Thaipusam?
Thaipusam is a festival celebrated by the Hindu Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February), usually coinciding with the Pushya star, known as Poosam in Tamil. The festival is also observed among Hindu Keralites and is vernacularly called Thaipooyam
What are the most popular forms of rituals or sacrifices during the Thaipusam festival?
The most popular form of sacrifice during the Thaipusam festival is carrying the kavadi, which means “sacrifice at every step”. It is usually done to fulfil a vow that a devotee would have taken. Other forms of sacrifice include piercing silver pins through the cheek and tongue and pricking the body with hooks and spear-like needles.
13 Best Things To Do During Thaipusam 2023
Planning Your Thaipusam Holidays For 2023:
1. Watch The Chariots At The Arulmigu Sri Balathandayuthapani Waterfall Hilltop Temple, Penang
Travel to Penang for a staycation and participate in the Penang Thaipusam procession, which begins in the early morning at Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Penang’s oldest Hindu temple. The procession will then proceed to the Arulmigu Sri Balathandayuthapani Waterfall Hilltop Temple. Upon reaching the foothill, devotees must climb 513 steps to reach the Arulmigu Sri Balathandayuthapani Waterfall Hilltop Temple.
2. Go On A Food Tour in Penang
While visiting Penang for the Thaipusam festivities, take this opportunity to try Penang’s famous Hawker dishes, such as the Char Kuey Teow, Laksa, and Curry Noodles. Also, do not forget to stop by and pick up the famous Him Heang biscuits for yourself, your family, and your friends. In addition, Penang has amazingly delicious Western, Nonya, Thai, and French cuisine. Consider renting a car in Penang from these 10 best car rental services to make it easier to get around Penang Island.
3. Follow The Procession To Batu Caves, Selangor
The Batu Caves are the focus of the Tamil community’s yearly Thaipusam Festival. A procession begins in the wee hours of the morning on Thaipusam from the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur leading up to Batu Caves. Stay in these 10 best luxury staycations in the Klang Valley if you travel to watch the procession.
You will see devotees carrying containers containing milk as offerings to Lord Murugan either by hand or in decorated carriers on their shoulders called ‘Kavadi’. The devotees will make their way to the Temple Cave and climb up the 272 flights of stairs to the temple in the cave.
4. Take Instagram Worthy Photographs At The Sky Mirror
While at Selangor to watch the Batu Caves Thaipusam Procession, schedule a visit to the Sky Mirror at Kuala Selangor. The Sky Mirror is a seabed that appears above water during low tide, exposing an expansive sand flat approximately the size of a hundred football fields. You can enjoy taking Instagram-worthy photos of the breathtaking reflection of the sky right at your feet.
Book your time slot for the Sky Mirror Tour and do not attempt any unscheduled walk-ins to avoid disappointments. It takes around 30 minutes to reach the destination. Do bring along your sunscreen, as it is rather hot out there. They will also provide snacks and water after the photography session. Enjoy your time at the Sky Mirror while there, as it can only be seen during low tide and on certain days each month.
5. Visit The Kallumalai Arulmigu Subramaniar Temple, Ipoh
Stay at one of these top 9 best boutique hotels in Ipoh or these 8 best luxury hotels in Ipoh when you travel to Ipoh to watch the chariot procession from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Buntong to the Kallumalai Arulmigu Subramaniar Temple. The Kallumaalai Temple was built in 1889 and had the tallest tower in the country at seventy feet. The hilltop temple complex transforms into a lively spectacle during the festive season despite having a calm atmosphere on regular days.
6. Explore The Lost World Of Tambun
Ipoh is a historic city rich in cultural heritage and tourist attractions. During your visit to Ipoh to watch the Thaipusam celebrations, try to make a trip to the Lost World of Tambun Theme Park. A lush tropical jungle surrounds this theme park, along with natural hot springs, 400 million-year-old limestone hills, and 88 attractions from 10 parks.
It is the perfect getaway for family vacations as it caters to visitors of all ages. You can also participate in several activities while you are there, such as the 13 High Ropes Course, Ziplining, Kayaking, and Paddle Boarding. Furthermore, there are shows and performances, such as the fire-eater show at the Lost World Hot Springs and Spa stage.
7. Marvel At The Muniswarar Temple, Johor
Stay at one of these 8 best staycations in Johor Bahru and visit the Muniswarar Temple to join in on the Thaipusam festivities. The oldest temple in Johor annually attracts many visitors to its Thaipusam celebrations. During this time of the year, you can watch devotees carry ‘Kavadis’ to Sri Muniswarar temple to participate in prayers and fulfil their vows.
8. Experience LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort
If you are travelling to Johor to witness the chariot processions, try to visit the LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort, Malaysia’s first international theme park, which houses over forty interactive rides, shows, and attractions. Legoland Malaysia is divided into several themes, each featuring attractions of its own. The most popular attraction would be the water park which has over twenty water slides and seventy LEGO models.
9. Admire The Sri Subramaniya Swami Devasthanam, Kedah
Sri Subramaniya Swami Devasthanam is a Hindu Temple located at Sungai Petani, Kedah. It has been the focal point of Kedah’s Thaipusam celebrations since 1919 and has had more than 300,000 devotees each year travelling to fulfil their vows and penance on Thaipusam. While at Kedah, you can stop by for lunch and dinner at one of the best restaurants and cafes in Sungai Petani for some delicious food and refreshments.
10. Stop By The Thirumurugan Temple, Tawau, Sabah
While the Thaipusam Celebrations in Tawau may not be as grand as those at Batu Caves, the celebration in Tawau Thirumurugan Temple is just as joyous. If you are staying in or visiting Sabah this Thaipusam, you can drop by to watch the festivities.
11. Enjoy Bargain Hunting At Gaya Street Sunday Market
Visit the vibrant Gaya Street Sunday Market while you are in Sabah. You will come across curious handmade trinkets at local arts and crafts stores, pets, pet-related merchandise, several souvenir shops, and an array of flower shops with gorgeous blooms on display.
While shopping, you can enjoy music played by street performers, and along the way, you can stop by the musical ice cream truck to enjoy delicious ice cream. There is also a good variety of local street food, delicacies, and fragrant locally brewed coffee. At the same time, you can check out these 10 best things to do in Sabah.
12. Go For A Quiet Getaway at Fraser’s Hill
If you prefer a quiet getaway away from the festivities, a staycation in the cool weather of Fraser’s Hill would be the perfect solution. Here, you can choose bird watching, boating, or horse riding, or try all three activities if you have the time.
You can also rent a bicycle and cycle around Fraser’s Hill while enjoying the cool breeze and natural surroundings. After a day of exploring, you can enjoy a delicious meal at Breakfast @ Green Roses Fraser’s Hill, followed by a memorable selfie with the Fraser’s Hill Clock Tower in the background. Check out these 8 best things to do in Fraser’s Hill.
13. Relax in A Nature Retreat in Janda Baik
If you love nature and wish to spend time amongst beautiful waterfalls, white sandy beaches, and scenic hilltop views, Janda Baik is the place for you. You can stay in one of these 8 best staycations in Janda Baik, such as the Aman Rimba Private Estate. This staycation is decorated based on a traditional Malay village-inspired design. It has meals prepared by a team of village chefs specializing in Malay cuisine made from the freshest ingredients.
While at Janda Baik, you can also have picnics by the Riverside Janda Baik or connect with nature at the New Era Organic Farm. If you love fishing, you can do so at Radiant Retreats or even go for a paintball match at SWAT Paintball. Check out these 8 best things to do in Janda Baik.
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