GEORGE TOWN: Some 1.5 million Hindu devotees and tourists from within the country and abroad are expected to throng Penang next weekend for the annual Thaipusam celebrations.
Thanneermalai Shree Balathandayuthabani Temple chairman Datuk Seri P. Kuvena Raju said the festival was held on a small and moderate scale for the last two years to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“We expect a big turnout of 1.5 million devotees for the three days as we expect more people will want to fulfill their vows since it was disrupted for the past two years, so it will be a challenge for us to conduct the festival in the best way.
“This year,Thaipusam falls on the weekend, while Monday will be a holiday. We do expect devotees from Medan, Jakarta and Singapore to participate in the Penang procession. In the past, we even got devotees from London,“ he told Bernama.
For the golden chariot procession, he said it will start as early as 6 am on Feb 4 at Lebuh Queen and is expected to arrive at the Thanneermalai Shree Balathandayuthapani Devasthanam Temple at midnight at the earliest depending on the traffic congestion.
Kuvena Raju also advised the people to act thoughtfully and responsibly so that the celebration could go on well.
“The best is to follow the rules and do not litter. We have provided enough places to dispose rubbish,“ he added.
Meanwhile, Nagarathar Thanduthabani Temple trustee Dr A. Narayanan said the procession of the silver chariot, bearing the idol of Lord Murugan, will begin at 7 am at Nagarathar Kovil Vidu Temple, Lebuh Penang, and is expected to reach the Waterfall Temple grounds at 1 or 2 am.
“This year we expect a much larger crowd due to Covid-19 pandemic the past two years and we are prepared to meet the crowd.
“After the procession, the silver chariot is expected to return to the temple at Lebuh Penang on Feb 7 at around 8 am. Everything should go well and we expect the public will cooperate,“ he said. - Bernama