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Friday April 26, 2013

Journey of faith and devotion

HUNDREDS of devotees converged at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Lebuh Queen, Penang, to mark the annual Chitraparuvam Festival.

Dubbed the ‘mini Thaipusam’, the event saw devotees walking barefooted for 6km to the Sri Bala Thandayuthapani Hilltop Temple in Waterfall Road to accompany the chariot bearing the Lord Muruga sta-tue.

Two gaily decorated bulls pulled the chariot from Lebuh Queen to Lebuh Chulia, Gat Lebuh Chulia, Lebuh Victoria, Gat Lebuh Prangin, Jalan C.Y. Choy, Jalan Magazine, Jalan Datuk Keramat, Jalan Utama and Jalan Air Terjun.

Devotees gave offerings of flowers and fruits at the many stopovers made by the chariot.

Coconuts were also broken by de-votees.

Earlier at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, prayers were held after the deity’s statue was brought out from the temple and placed on the chariot, and before the start of the divine journey.

Thaneer panthals (water refreshment stalls) were also set up to serve vegetarian food and drinks to devotees along Jalan Utama.

The festival is usually celebrated on the first day of the full moon after the Tamil New Year in the month of Chithirai, which usually starts in mid-April.

The festival to thank Lord Muruga for the triumph of good over evil has been celebrated in Penang for more than 80 years after it was started by Indian migrant workers who came to the country.

The chariot left the hilltop temple at 7pm yesterday and is expected to arrive at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple at 7am today.

Over at the Sri Selva Vinayar Hindu Paripalana Devasthanam in Jalan Besar, Prai, Barisan Nasional candidates N. Gobalakrishnan and L. Krishnan, who are contesting the Batu Kawan parliamentary seat and Perai state seat respectively, also offered their prayers in conjunction with the festival.

They were accompanied by several Barisan supporters and their campaign team members.

Krishnan said the Federal Govern-ment had donated RM635,000 so far for the temple’s building fund.

He added that if he won the seat, his priority would be to complete the temple building as soon as possible.

Gobalakrishnan urged the Indian community in Prai to give their undivided support to Barisan in the general election.

Both candidates said they had so far received encouraging support from the constituents.

DAP candidate for the Batu Kawan parliamentary seat P. Kasthuriraani also turned up at the temple with her supporters.

She and Gobalakrishnan later shook hands after the special prayers at the temple.

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