KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 — The Thaipusam festival is back again on a grand scale with iconic silver chariot processions across the country after two years of muted celebrations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The mass of devotees was felt at the main thrust of the celebration at the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple in Batu Caves here, with thousands of Hindus carrying ‘kavadi’ and ‘paal kudam’ (milk offerings) to pay homage to Lord Murugan.
Met at the temple, Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar advised Hindus and tourists to be on guard against the spread of Covid-19 and to observe cleanliness on temple grounds.
“As for the level of security, I noticed that the situation here is quite good. I also take this opportunity to wish a happy Thaipusam for the year 2023 to all Hindus throughout the country," he said when observing Thaipusam celebrations here.
In SELANGOR, an estimated 150,000 Hindus thronged the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple in Kuala Selangor since yesterday, with the chairman of the temple P. Kannathasan saying the number increased by 30 per cent compared to the last three years.
“Many people come here, those taking vows because this festival has been postponed for two years, besides the temple giving free food to visitors who attend from yesterday until tomorrow thanks to public donations,” he said.
In JOHOR, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar consented to attend a vegetarian luncheon for the state-level Thaipusam festival held at the Arulmigu Sri Balasubramaniar Temple in Skudai, Johor Bahru.
Sultan Ibrahim’s arrival at 11 am was greeted by Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi and the chairman of the temple, Datuk S. Balakrishnan.
At the ceremony which was attended by some 10,000 Hindus, Sultan Ibrahim also consented to accept a donation of RM5,000 from the temple for the Tunku Laksamana Johor Cancer Foundation and a souvenir pot made of silver specially ordered from India.
In NEGRI SEMBILAN, president of Sri Balathandayuthapani Temple in Jalan Yamtuan, Seremban, R Parameswaran said thousands of devotees visited the temple with about 5,000 marching with the paal kudam.
In PENANG, thousands garbed in bright orange-yellow to symbolise purity began to flood Jalan Kebun Bunga in Georgetown as early as 4 am, before it drifted two kilometres to the Thanneermalai Shree Balathandayuthapani Temple, the famous shrine at the base of a waterfall, here.
Penang police chief Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said as of 11am today, more than half a million visitors attended the Thaipusam celebration since yesterday, which went smoothly without any incident.
In KEDAH, Kuala Muda District police chief ACP Zaidy Che Hassan said the celebration at the Sri Subramaniya Swami Devasthanam Temple in Sungai Petani was also incident-free, with 700 police officers assigned throughout Op Palu in the Kuala Muda district.
In PERAK, an estimated 25,000 Hindus celebrated the Thaipusam festival at Kallumal Arulmigu Subramania Temple in Gunung Cheroh, Ipoh.
A tourist from France, Juliette Baudot, 24, here with her boyfriend Hugo Doucet, 23, was excited to be among tourists worldwide drawn to the celebration, as it was their first visit to the country.
“It is nice to be here as I don’t really know more about the history of this festival. In my country, we don’t have all this. I came here as early as 10 am to see how it’s actually going and I really like it,” she said.
Thaipusam is a festival celebrated in the month of ‘Thai’, which is the 10th month in the Tamil calendar to commemorate the event of Goddess Parvati giving her son Lord Murugan a divine spear ‘Vel’ to vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman and restore prosperity and well-being to humanity. — Bernama