GEORGE TOWN: Some 1.5 million Hindu devotees and tourists from within the country and abroad are expected to visit Penang next weekend for the annual Thaipusam celebration.
Thanneermalai Shree Balathandayuthabani Devasthanam Temple (Thanneermalai Temple) chairman P Kuvena Raju said the festival was held on a small and moderate scale over the last two years to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“This year, we expect a big turnout of 1.5 million devotees and tourists over three days.
“We expect more people will want to fulfil their vows since the Thaipusam celebration was disrupted over the past two years.
“This year, Thaipusam falls on the weekend, while Monday will be a holiday.
“We are expecting devotees from Medan, Jakarta and Singapore to participate in the Penang procession.
“In the past, devotees from as far as London have come here to fulfil their vows and take part in the celebration,” he told Bernama.
Raju said the golden chariot procession would start as early as 6am on Feb 4 at Lebuh Queen and was expected to arrive at the Thanneermalai Temple at midnight at the earliest, depending on the traffic situation.
Raju advised the people to act responsibly and think of the welfare of other devotees for the celebration to proceed smoothly.
“Please follow all the rules and do not litter. We have provided enough places to dispose of rubbish,” he added.
Meanwhile, Nagarathar Thandayuthabani Temple trustee Dr A Narayanan said the procession of the silver chariot, bearing the idol of Lord Murugan, would begin at 7am at Nagarathar Kovil Vidu Temple, Lebuh Penang. This second chariot procession is expected to reach the Waterfall Temple grounds at 1am or 2am.
“The silver chariot is expected to return to the temple at Lebuh Penang on Feb 7 at around 8am. We expect the public to cooperate in making this celebration a big success,” he said.