While there’s really no ideal season to visit Batu Caves (the weather in Malaysia is consistently rain-or-shine year-round), the period from the end of January to early February each year is a particularly festive period at the caves that you should definitely check out.
Batu Caves Come Thaipusam is A Highly Festive Affair
The Thaipusam festival is an event celebrating the triumph of good (Murugan) over evil (Surapadman), where hundreds and thousands of devotees and visitors convene on the sacred site each year.
During this period, many festival-goers adorn bright yellow or orange clothing, in addition to observing Hindu traditions like having their heads shaved and carrying Kavadis as an offering to Lord Murugan.
Some common examples of Kavadis include fruits, flowers, or a pail of milk. But other fancier Kavadis may include heavy peacock-feather covered shrines carried by the disciples. Plus, some devotees will even go a step further by having their cheeks and tongues pierced with ceremonial lances and hooks, while others haul large Kavadis with the hooks in their backs. Most visitors are often fascinated by this imagery and their dedication towards their God.
But the truly amazing feat is when the followers — hooks in flesh and all — begin their arduous climb up the steps to the top of the caves. This trek requires not only a steeled mind but also an equally high endurance to scale up against the often bustling masses.
At the top, swamis sprinkle consecrated ash over the hooks and skewers piercing the devotee’s flesh before they are removed — thereby granting them release from their spiritual burden.
Here’s a tip.
As the focal point of the annual religious pilgrimage, the procession arrives at Batu Caves in the wee hours of the morning and the entire colourful celebration lasts about eight hours in total. So, be sure to get there early to secure your spot!