Malaysia is among the countries that are currently in the battle of Covid-19. We have a melting pot of races and cultures here in Malaysia. Though Islam is the official religion, with Muslims accounting for three-fifths of the population, Malaysia is a multi-religious community that celebrates so many other celebrations. One of them would be Deepavali. One of the most widely observed Hindu festivals is also known as “Diwali” or “Festival of Lights”. The Hindu community in Malaysia celebrates Deepavali to commemorate Lord Rama and his wife Sita’s return to Ayodhya after a 14-year exile. This symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. In Malaysia, it is set up to be a one-day public holiday for the whole country which all races and communities participate in this lovely festival of lights to brighten each other’s homes and lives!
The tale behind this colorful celebration is that it commemorates the day when Lord Krishna conquered and killed the tyrannical monarch Narakasura. Narakasura had been tormenting his guarantors, and North Indians celebrates it for 5 days. That aligns with the return of Lord Ram after 14 years of exile in the jungles. For the Sikhs, they celebrate it as the mark of their 6th guru, Guru Hargobind, who was released from prison, while the Jains honor Mahavir’s attainment of Moksha. It is commemorated by Buddhists as the day Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism.
The significance of the “Festival of Lights,” is all about good triumphing over evil. light triumphing over darkness. The full word means “rows of lit lights,”. That is the combination of the two words “Deepa” which means “lamp” and “vali” which means “lines”, and this celebration is associated with lamps. ‘Diyas’ signifies the victory of the forces of light over the powers of darkness and serves as a reminder to always do good and never cause damage to others.
As for places to go in embracing the Diwali spirit, here are the top 8 places to visit during Deepavali in Malaysia:
Little India Brickfields
There are a lot of branches when it comes to Little India in Malaysia. Within a 5 minute-away walk from Tun Sambanthan, indulge yourself in a colorful maze of textile shops and jewelry stores, as well as low-key Indian restaurants in Malaysia at Little India Brickfields. Enjoy dosa pancakes, banana-leaf curries, and other spice-rich meals too. During the Diwali celebration, there are malls and businesses that are illuminated, decorated, and mostly sell traditional Indian clothing season. Welcoming people with decorative Kolams full of flower and animal patterns, Little India Brickfields is the ideal spot to go if you want to buy saris, religious artifacts, bangles, or spices as well as bright paper lanterns.
Who doesn’t know the iconic Batu Caves in Malaysia, the million years old limestone hill near Gombak, Selangor? Located 11 kilometers north of Kuala Lumpur, it is home to a famous Hindu temple and is a hotspot for Diwali celebrations as there will be thousands of people flock to the temple grounds to witness worshippers reciting prayers. The rituals by the locals begin at 7:00 a.m., then recites last into the evening filled with people bringing a variety of offerings as well as flower garlands for the Lord.
Little India, Klang
Though it is not the most well-known Little India, that will not affect the spirit. Located along Jalan Tengku Kelana in Klang, it takes roughly 10-15 minutes to walk from Klang Komuter Station to get here and people come to get their hands on many things like household items, ornamental items, Indian food, Indian desserts during Deepavali in Malaysia, and more. Traditional apparel, flowers, and pieces of jewelry are also available at a reasonable price, so think about the savings you can make from your purchases here.
Little India, Melaka
Melaka’s old city also boasts its own Little India. Located along Jalan Bendahara, the tourists and locals can enjoy and be able to listen to appealing Tamil songs that lift the place up and always keeping the vibe flowing and cheerful. Not just that, along Bendahara Street and its intersection with Temenggong Street, there are rows of shophouses. The majority of them are Indian dealers and the shops sell Indian delicacies, music, and traditional clothing. During Deepavali in Malaysia, you can come here and get yourself some snacks, prayer equipment, and beautiful flowers are sold by the majority of the traders.
Little India, Penang
Fun fact, Penang’s oldest Hindu temple is located here at Little India, Penang. The area is encompassing Queen Street, Chulia Street, Market Street, Sri Mahamariamman Temple, and more. This neighborhood has a lot in common with market streets in Chennai, Mumbai, and Delhi, and there are various Indian clothes boutiques along Market Street (Jalan Pasar) which is one of the night markets in Penang. This is where they mostly sell sarees, silk, and cotton, and more. Traditional Indian music can be heard playing and surround yourself with numerous shops serving great, both inexpensive and delicious, Indian cuisine.
Little India, Ipoh
Used to be the main economic and cultural center for Indians in Ipoh City, Little India used to be a center for early Indian immigrants and merchants where the majority of the early immigrants were of South Indian Nattukkotai Chettiar heritage. As time pass by, Little India Ipoh now has a population of 65 percent Indians and 35 percent Chinese, and currently one of the hotspots for tourists in Ipoh. During the Deepavali in Malaysia, this place is full of people that purchasing glistening jewelry, saris, textiles, apparel, cutlery, spices, and more.
There you have it, some of the best places to visit during Deepavali in Malaysia. Your 4th November trip this year will be full of color and delicious spices!