When: Late January or early February, annually. February 5-7, 2012, January 27-29, 2013.
Where To Stay: Batu Caves hotels
Every year, nearly one million devotees and thousands of tourists gather at the Batu Caves in Malaysia to pay homage to Lord Murugan, a highly honored Hindu deity. It is celebrated on the full moon in the month of Tamil on the Thai calendar, which falls in late January or early February.
Devotees cleanse themselves and fast for 48 days before Thaipusam. Many also shave their heads and perform a pilgrimage, carrying a pot of milk, or a huge alter which is attached to the devotee by 108 vel skewers pierced in the skin. Some also elaborately pierce their skin on their faces, with vel skewers.
The Thaipusam Festival at Batu Caves starts with a procession at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur and travels for 15 kilometers to the Batu Caves. It is roughly an 8-hour trip with a flight of 272 steps up to the shrine.
Click here for more information on the Thaipusam Festival in Batu Caves, Malaysia.