My previous post covered only pictures of the 8th Jarasum International Jazz Festival. Here are the videos!
The 2011 Seoul Lantern Festival was held from 4th to 20th November at Cheonggye Stream. Highlights of the festival includes a 1/2 scale model lantern of Namdaemun Gate (Fortress Gate of olden day Seoul), traditional Korean lifestyle, giant peacocks, lanterns of popular animated characters including Batman, Spiderman and Superman.
There are over 30,000 huge and tiny lanterns on display, stretching more than 1km along the Cheonggye Stream. My personal favourite is the fire-breathing peacock!
The 8th Jarasum International Jazz Festival was held from 1st – 3rd October at Gapyeong province. Jaraseom literally means Jara Island, an island formed on Bukhangang River as a result of the construction of the Cheongpyeong Dam. I found out this event through the Visit Korea website and CNNGo Link.
When I check the online ticket purchasing site, it was all in Korean and they only accept Korean Bank transaction. Fortunately, I managed to get my Korean colleague to help purchase a 1-day ticket for me. From Seoul, I took a subway to Sangbong Station. Then changed to Gyeongchun line (Grey Line) towards Gapyeong. As there are so many people boarding the train to the Jazz Festival, I have to sit on the floor of the train for almost 45 minutes!
This is the first time I attended a Jazz Festival and I find it rather special. Instead of one performance stage, there are actually 9 different stages located around the island and one just outside of the subway station! The performances were held at the same time on different stages. Therefore, you need to choose which one you want to go. Ironically, I found out that the ticket I purchased is for the performance at Jazz Island and Part Stage (a bigger performance stage located on a separate smaller island at Jaraseom). Other than that, the rest of the performances are open to public for free. Video post added!
Despite working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for some years, this is the first time I went for a Thaipusam celebration. I have to wake up at 5AM and drive several km to reach Batu Caves. By the time I reach there, it was already packed with people from all walks of life. One thing I noticed was most devotees were adorned with dresses and vesthi of yellow and orange color, known to be the favorite color of Lord Murugan.
On the main entrance to Batu Caves (obviously it has been blocked for vehicles), I can see thousands of people flocking towards the temple in procession, some carrying kavadis (wooden/bamboo structure decorated with peacock feather), some carrying milk pots (known as Pal Kudam), some were tranced to impersonate various Hindu deities. On another corner of the street, I can see shelter for barbers offering devotees to shave their head bald, an act of atonement to the Hindu God.
I followed the devotees towards the foot hill of the temple, where one needs to climb up 272 steps to reach the Murugan Temple (The Caves). There were 3 lanes for devotees to line up in front of the stairways: the right for exit, the left for entry, the middle as “backup” either for entry or exit. We as a visitor and photographer, managed to take the middle lane and snaps some good photos. I proceeded to climb up the stair and was lucky to capture a few of my favorite shots (as shown below). Upon entering the caves, there were already hundreds or thousands of devotees queuing up, ready to offer milk, water, fruits and floral that they have carried to Lord Murugan.