2012 Thaipusam festival begins in Malaysia
GEORGE TOWN: Thousands of Hindus thronged the city early this morning to pay homage to Lord Muruga Perumaan as the silver chariot procession takes to the road to mark the start of the Thaipusam festival.
Lord Muruga Perumaan is the most revered deity among the Tamil-speaking Hindu community.
Organised by the Nattukottai Chettiar Tamil sub-ethnic community, also known as Nagarathar, the chariot procession carrying a statue of Lord Muruga Perumaan marks the start of the annual four-day festival.
Previously, the silver chariot was made of wood.
Lord Muruga Perumaan began his annual journey on the chariot from the Nagarathars' spiritual home, Kovil Veedu in Lebuh Penang, at 6am.
The silver chariot is scheduled to reach his destination at Thandayuthabani Kovil, Waterfall, at midnight after travelling for some 15km across major roads in the city.
The chariot will return from Balathandayuthabani Kovil to Kovil Veedu in an overnight journey commencing at 6pm on Wednesday.
Thousands of coconuts were smashed on the road to give a cool feeling to the warm legs of the devotees following the procession.
Tomorrow will be a full kavadi day, in which thousands of devotees would show their love and gratitude to Lord Murugan Perumaan by carrying various types of kavadis to the Waterfall hilltop Bala Thandayuthabani Kovil.
Many devotees have gone bald to offer their hair to their Lord.
Thaipusan in Penang is the oldest Hindu religious-cultural festival celebrated in the country.
The festival is expected to attract some 800,000 people, including Hindus from other states and tourists.
Some 200 panthals (refreshment sheds) have been erected along the festival route, especially in the Waterfall area, to provide free food and drinks to devotees.
Undeniably, Penang Thaipusam has always been the grandest and vividly celebrated Hindu religious festival in the country.
The festival is also good for businesses in Penang, which are expected to generate over RM30 million in turnover.
Meanwhile in Kuala Lumpur, the silver chariot from the Maha Mariamman Temple in Jalan Tun HS Lee arrived at Batu Caves at about 2pm. Thousands of devotees followed the procession which started at midnight today to the Batu Caves temple.
Courtesy: Free Malaysia Today: FreeMalaysiaToday.com of February 6, 2012