KUALA LUMPUR – Waves of Hindu devotees thronged the Batu Caves Temple since last night following the ‘Silver Chariot’ procession from the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Jalan Tun HS Lee here in conjunction with Thaipusam tomorrow.
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam honorary-secretary, R.T. Sundaram, said more than 1.6 million people are expected to gather at Batu Caves tomorrow, with 200,000 Hindus performing rituals in the annual religious event.
“The temple management has made thorough preparations to accomodate the crowds of people who will enliven Batu Caves during the Thaipusam festivities,” he told Bernama here today.
Thaipusam celebrated in the month of ‘Thai’, the 10th month in the Tamil calendar, also commemorates the occasion (day) when Lord Murugan or Subramaniam or Kartikeya as he is also known, received the ‘Vel’ or divine spear from his mother, Parvati, so he could vanquish the evil demon ‘Soorapadman’.
Sundaram said the ‘silver chariot’ carrying the deities Lord Murugan and his two consorts Valli and Theivanai from, Sri Maha Mariamman Temple started at 10 pm last night in a slow procession, covering 13 kilometres, to Batu Caves.
Sundaram said the ‘silver chariot’ with the deities will return to Sri Maha Mariamman Temple at 4 pm, on Wednesday (Feb 4).
He added, that the ‘Silver Chariot’ has been given a facelift this year by widening its size, adding wheels and replacing the silver after 30 years.
Sundaram said that like previous years, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to participate and witness the unique celebrations at Batu Caves at 10 am on Thaipusam day (tomorrow).
Visitors can also witness a special photo exhibition celebrating 125 years of Thaipusam featuring 200 photographs which chronicles the development of the festival since 1891. The exhibition will be open to the public until Feb 8th.
During Thaipusam, devotees carry ‘Paal Kudam’ (pots filled with milk) and decorated ‘Kavadis’ up the stairs to the cave temple to fulfill their vows in exchange for answered prayers.
Meanwhile, a Bernama survey of Batu Caves found thousands of devotees had begun fullfilling their vows by shaving their heads, carrying pots of milk and offering prayers to beat the crowd tomorrow.
A devotee, G. Ayanar, 68, from Felda Palung 8, Negeri Sembilan, who was with his grandson G. Kesavan, 17, and an acquaintance, K. Murali, 43 said they had walked from Senawang via Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur since last Saturday to fulfill their vows at the Batu Caves temple today.
“I still want to maintain the tradition of walking 70 km once a year to celebrate Thaipusam at Batu Caves temple, to offer my prayers and to seek the deity’s blessings for the whole family,” he said.
Murali said he will be shaving his head in gratitude for the wellbeing of his whole family after surviving a robbery incident that took place in 2010.
Kesavan expressed his excitement in having the opportunity to accompany his grandfather to carry on the tradition of celebrating Thaipusam in Batu Caves. – BERNAMA