Volunteers putting in extra hours for the annual Thaipusam celebrations


  • Metro News
  • Wednesday, 24 Jan 2018

The entrance arch of the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Hilltop Temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga, Penang, only needs some finishing touches before the special opening prayers on Sunday. — Photos: CHIN CHENG YEANG/The Star

WITH a week before Thaipusam, preparations for the three-day annual celebrations are in full swing. There is a hive of activities along Jalan Utama and Jalan Kebun Bunga with handful of thaneer panthal (refreshment stalls) operators busy setting up stalls.

Some were seen performing prayers, which is a custom before erecting the stalls.

Nattukotai Chettiar Temple managing trustee A. Lakshmanan (standing right) and trustee C. Veerappan checking the silver chariot at the Kovil Veedu in Penang Street, Penang.

Artisans were seen putting final touches on the painting of the 13.71m-high entrance arch of the fa­­mous Arulmigu Balathandayutha­pani Hilltop Temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga.

Last year, the arch was completed just on time before Thaipusam but the painting works were not done, said temple chairman Datuk R. Subramaniam.

He said the craftsmen took some three months to complete the paintings on the arch, which features depictions of Lord Muruga in his six abodes (Aarupadai Veedu) in Tamil Nadu, India.

 

A volunteer using a high pressure hose to clean the steps of the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Hilltop Temple.
A volunteer using a high pressure hose to clean the steps of the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Hilltop Temple.

“There will be a special opening prayers for the arch this Sunday at 9am upon completion of the painting.

“Preparation works are progressing well with almost 80% done,” he said yesterday.

Thaneer panthal operators busy putting up decorations at stalls along Jalan Utama and Jalan Kebun Bunga. — Photos: CHIN CHENG YEANG and CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

He said this year, about 150 panthal and more than 200 business stalls have registered for the celebrations.

A thaneer panthal, observing cost-effective and environmental-friendly method to serve vegetarian meals to devotees, are encouraging others to follow suit.

For the past seven years, Univer­siti Sains Malaysia thaneer panthal has been serving meals and drinks using stainless steel plates and cups.

Panthal chairman G. Subramaniam said the move would help reduce food wastage, avoid littering and en­­able devotees to enjoy their meals.

Workers busy decorating their thaneer panthal.
Workers busy decorating their thaneer panthal.

“We also practise the sit-in method at our panthal, where food is served in a buffet line.

“We want devotees to sit and enjoy the food rather than rush through the meal,” he said.

Subramaniam said they have about 500 plates and 400 cups, to be washed and reused.

“Though some panthal offer food in bio-degradable containers, this will end up as garbage.

“We also suggest a dedicated food centre site be allocated to let devotees sit and enjoy their meals,” he said.


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