Penang hilltop temple expects one million Thaipusam devotees
Last Update: 16/01/2019
GEORGE TOWN, Jan 16 (Bernama) -- Preparations are in full swing for the annual Thaipusam here as thousands of devotees are expected to throng the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga to pay homage to Lord Muruga during the festival which falls on Jan 21.
Temple chairman Datuk R. Subramaniam said more than one million Hindu devotees, especially from the northern states of Malaysia, and foreign tourists were expected to flock to the temple this year during the festival.
"In conjunction with the 233rd year of the Thaipusam festival, we also plan to introduce a Sri Ayappa Temple at the hilltop next to the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple," he told Bernama today.
He said the construction of the RM1-million Sri Ayappa Temple had just been completed and it would be opened to devotees during the Thaipusam festival next week.
He also said that the temple committee had decided to use the new golden chariot, contributed by the Meenatchi Sundareswarar Temple, for the procession this year.
"We are having difficulty in bringing down the old golden chariot from the hilltop, so we decided to use the new 6.7-metre high chariot to carry the vel (spear of Lord Muruga) this year," he said.
Subramaniam also said that more than 160 thanir panthal or refreshment stalls and sales outlets would be in operation during Thaipusam compared to 150 last year.
"As for crowd control, we were informed that about 1,379 police personnel will be stationed around the Thaipusam zone along Jalan Kebun Bunga to ensure the safety of all devotees," he said.
He urged devotees coming to Penang to observe the festival to park their vehicles in the city areas and take buses to the temples.
"I was informed that RapidPenang is allocating six buses to carry devotees from the Penang jetty to Burmah Road, close to the junction of Gottlieb Road," he said.
Meanwhile, the golden chariot bearing the spear of Lord Muruga, which was introduced by the Penang Hindu Endowment Board (PHEB) in 2017, will make its way to the hilltop temple from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Lebuh Queen.