More than 100,000 people join Penang Thaipusam

31 Jan 2018 / 12:54 H.

GEORGE TOWN: More than 100,000 Hindu devotees as well as local and foreign tourists flooded the streets from Lebuh Penang to the Sri Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani Temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga at the Thaipusam procession here today.
The silver chariot procession which began at 7am, wound from Kovil Veedu Temple in Lebuh Penang to Nattukotai Chettiar Temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga as usual, while the gold chariot began from Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Lebuh Queen at 5am to Sri Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani Temple.
The processions carrying two chariots were accompanied by traditional Indian music Mridangam and Natheswaran.
A Bernama observation along Jalan Magazine and Jalan Datuk Keramat, found police on duty to control the crowd and traffic for the procession.
Several hundred thousand coconuts were also piled up along the 10-km route and they were broken as the chariots stopped in front of the Thanir Panthal stand built along the route.
'Thanir Panthal' is a temporary camp set up to provide free food and drinks for visitors in the ritual.
Apart from that, Hindu devotees were seen carrying archeenai, which is a tray filled with coconuts, money, fruits, and flowers to be presented to the priest in the procession for prayers.
A tourist and Hindu devotee from Singapore, R. Nathan, 50, said he and his family were in Penang to join the Thaipusam celebration here to fulfill their vows and the procession was more enthralling.
"Last year, my wife (K. Chitra, 48) had a road accident and I made a vow for her recovery and we will come to Penang to fulfill the vow again. In fact my son, N. Sadasivan, 25, will be carrying the kavadi tomorrow as his mother has fully recovered," he told Bernama, here today.
Nathan who is an engineer said this was the second time that he and his family celebrated Thaipusam in Penang and he had attended the celebration in Batu Caves, Selangor, several times.
Northeast district police chief ACP Anuar Omar when contacted by Bernama said as at 2pm, the Thaipusam procession had proceeded smoothly.
"Twenty two roads were closed in stages since 5am to allow the gold and silver chariots to pass while the return journey will start at 4pm on Feb 1. Members of the public have been advised to adhere to the order of police personnel on duty," he said.
Tomorrow, Hindu devotees will be carrying various kinds of kavadi up 512 steps to reach Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani Temple located on top of a hill in Jalan Kebun Bunga here to fulfill their vows and receive the blessings of Lord Murugan. — Bernama

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