One million hindu devotees expected to throng Penang Thaipusam

One million hindu devotees expected to throng Penang Thaipusam

GEORGE TOWN — A total of one million Hindu devotees are expected to throng Penang from Jan 24 to 26 to celebrate the Thaipusam festival.

Penang Hindu Endowment Board (PHEB) chairman RSN Rayer said this year’s Thaipusam will be different as for the first time in a sign of unity both the gold and silver chariots will feature in the procession to the temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga.

“This time, we are calling the festival the ‘Thaipusam of Unity’ because both chariots will move almost together, that is about one kilometre apart from each other. We hope the procession will reach the temple by 11 pm.

“We also will try to coordinate the procession to move at a faster pace as we do not want a repeat of what happened several years ago when the chariots reached the temple nearly 24 hours later,“ he told reporters after accompanying Human Resources Minister Steven Sim to the Kesuma MADANI programme which was held in conjunction with the Thaipusam celebrations at the Waterfall Hill Temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga here today.

He said 150 ‘thaneer panthal’ (refreshment stalls) or free food and drink distribution tents were also set up along the procession route to the temple.

Rayer said the golden chariot will move from the temple in Lebuh Queen at 5.30 am on Jan 24 , followed by the silver chariot an hour later from the temple in Lebuh Penang before both chariots return to their respective temples on Jan 26.

In the meantime, Rayer said Thaipusam is not only celebrated by Hindus but is also the focus of foreign tourists.

Accordingly, he asked those involved not to sully the religious celebration, such as drinking alcohol or lighting firecrackers.

“We also request motorists not to park their vehicles haphazardly as this could cause problems in the event of an emergency or to use public transport because the government has had previously announced it will provide free bus and ferry services in conjunction with Thaipusam,“ he also said.

Additionally, he suggested the use of face masks especially for those at high risk such as the elderly, and encouraged them to come early to perform the religious rituals.

– Bernama



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