Kurt Ganapathy joins members of Singapore’s Hindu community as they make their annual 4km trek between Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and Sri Thendayuthapani Temple.
It’s just before 4am on a Monday, and most of Singapore is sound asleep beneath the glow of a full moon. Outside Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, however, traffic is beginning to build. Inside, the festival of Thaipusam is in full swing.
In every corner of the complex, devotees are making preparations to fulfil their vows. Some will carry pots of milk, others will carry vel kavadis.
All will demonstrate the ultimate in mind over matter, with neither age, nor gender, nor disability, nor lack of sleep preventing them from completing the 4km journey to Sri Thendayuthapani Temple.
Volunteers help them on their way, handing out water, cups of coffee and tea, and even samosas.
Dedicated to Lord Murugan, Thaipusam takes place during the full moon day in the Tamil month of Thai.
This year’s celebration of Thaipusam was the first in more than forty years that saw live percussion instruments played as part of the procession.
A sense of welcome greeted us as we joined the procession, and seeing the devotion of the people around us up close was nothing short of moving.