Kuala Lumpur (dpa) – Hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees on Tuesday celebrated the Thaipusam festival throughout Malaysia.
Devotees in colourful dresses and painted faces flocked to the Batu Caves temple on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur carrying jars of milk and other offerings.
Some 1.6 million people were expected to visit the temple during the annual celebration of thanksgiving and repentance.
Thaipusam, celebrated during the full moon of the Tamil month of Thai, which falls in January or February, to honour the Hindu god Murugan, is a national holiday in Malaysia, nearly 2 million whose 30 million population is ethnically Indian.
Prime Minister Najib Razak went to the Batu Caves to witness the celebration this year, noting that the event highlighted the predominantly Muslim country’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.
“As our Hindu brothers and sisters observe this day by offering prayers of thanksgiving and fulfilling their vows at temples throughout the country, let us come together in solidarity to show our respect for each other’s religious festivals,” he said.