THE annual Chitraparuvam Festival (mini Thaipusam) attracted a record crowd of more than 100,000 people to the Arulmigu Balathanduyathapani Hilltop Temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga, Penang.
The long weekend due to Labour Day and Wesak Day brought in a huge crowd from Kedah and Perak as they came in buses to fulfil their vows.
Hindu Mahajana Sangam chairman M. Neelemegam said there were about 300 people from Singapore who joined in the festival as part of their tour to historical places in Penang.
“This is the first time such a large number of people from Singapore came to the temple, and they were amazed to see such a grand celebration although it is not Thaipusam.
“The holidays helped to bring in the crowd. Last year, only 70,000 people attended the festival. There was also 70 kavadis this time around compared to only 20 last year,” he said in an interview.
The festivities began on Saturday when the fully decorated wooden chariot bearing the statue of Lord Muruga started its journey from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple where some 2,000 devotees lined up outside the temple in Queen Street.
Hundreds of coconuts were smashed along the way during the journey as devotees offered fruits and flowers to the deity.
The chariot moved through Jalan Datuk Keramat, Jalan Utama and Jalan Kebun Bunga before reaching the foot of the hilltop temple at 4am on Sunday.
The chariot made its return journey from the hilltop temple at 8pm yesterday and is expected to reach the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Queen Street at 6.30pm today.