Thaipusam festival to boost tourism agenda this year

27 Jan 2015 / 18:09 H.

    KUALA LUMPUR: The Thaipusam festival is seen as a catalyst for the country's tourism agenda in 2015, targeting 29.4 million foreign tourists.
    Two public holidays over the weekend in conjunction with the Federal Territory Day and Thaipusam commencing on Jan 31 to Feb 3 will attract domestic and foreign tourists alike to Batu Caves which will be thronged with Hindus.
    This will be a boost for the country's tourism industry.
    Batu Caves Sri Subramaniar Swamy Devasthanam temple chairman Tan Sri R. Nadarajah said he was confident that more than 1.6 million Hindu devotees and tourists will flood Batu Caves for Thaipusam.
    "Besides Hindus, every year we (Batu Caves) receive foreign tourists as well as visitors of various races and ethnicities to witness this festival," he told Bernama when met at Batu Caves here, today.
    Thaipusam is celebrated all over the world by Hindus in the month of 'Thai', which is the 10th month in the Tamil calendar and during 'pusam' meaning 'when the moon is at its brightest' and is dedicated to Lord Muruga.
    Devotees prepare themselves for Thaipusam spiritually by fasting and praying before performing acts of penance or thanksgiving like carrying 'Kavadis' and 'Paal Kudam' (pots filled with milk) up the stairs leading to the temple in the cave to fullfill their vows in exchange for an answered prayer.
    Nadarajah said that like previous years, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to participate and witness the unique celebrations at Batu Caves at 10 am on Thaipusam day.
    He added, that the 'Silver Chariot' to be taken in procession with the deities this year has also been given a facelift by widening its size, adding wheels and replacing the silver after 30 years.
    The highlight of Thaipusam will be the procession of the silver chariot with with the idols of Lord Murugan and his two consorts Valli and Theivanai placed in it. The procession will move from Sri Mahamariaman Temple in Jalan Tun HS Lee at 10 pm on Feb 1 for Batu Caves and return to Sri Maha Mariamman Temple on Feb 4.
    Meanwhile, a survey at Batu Caves found many devotees had begun fulfilling their vows with shaved heads and walking carrying pots of milk.
    N.Silvanedran, 28, a devotee said he was fulfilling his vow today to avoid the crowd on Thaipusam day.
    Ferillo Chargen, 47, a tourist from the Czech Republic chose to visit Malaysia end of this month just to witness the rituals and rites performed during Thaipusam.
    "My agent told me that the Thaipusam celebration will be on Feb 3, so I decided to come a week earlier to Malaysia, so I will have a wonderful time here," he told Bernama.
    The temple committee has also provided various facilities so that visitors can witness the celebrations without disturbing the smooth flow of devotees carrying out rituals.
    In Malaysia, Thaipusam is also celebrated on a grand scale at the Arulmigu Sri Balathandayuthapani Temple located on a hill in Penang and Arul Migu Subramaniar Temple located at the Gunung Cheruh limestone hill, Perak. – Bernama

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