GEORGE TOWN: The new golden chariot for the Thaipusam festival will go on a 3km trial run tomorrow.
It will proceed from the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Hilltop Temple at 10am to nearby areas and back to the temple within two hours. It will be pulled by 20 volunteers.
The Star quoted hilltop temple chairman R Subramaniam as saying the chariot would carry a golden kudam (pot) filled with holy water.
The report quoted Penang Hindu Endowments Board (PHEB) chairman P Ramasamy as saying special prayers would be held at the hilltop temple from 6.30pm tomorrow.
The actual procession will be on the eve of Thaipusam.
The introduction of the golden chariot by the PHEB has caused anxiety, even division, among Hindus in the state.
The regular silver chariot run by the Penang Nagarathar Thandayuthapani Temple, which is at the foothill, and is managed by the Naattukotai Chettiar community, will also go in procession on the eve of Thaipusam.
Devotees will now see the golden chariot leaving the Queen Street Mariamman Temple at 5am on Feb 8 and the silver chariot leaving Kovil Veedu on nearby Penang Street at 6.30am.
Since the golden chariot was annouced, words have been exchanged between both sides and their supporters, especially in the social media.
The Star reported that former Penang Hindu Youth Organisation president P Rajendran had lodged a police report claiming he had been attacked by three men and taken on a terror ride. He said the men had warned him not to criticise those behind the golden chariot.