Huge crowd expected for Thaipusam


Workers setting up a thaneer panthal (refreshment stall) for the upcoming Thaipusam celebration along Jalan Kebun Bunga in Penang. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

DEVOTEES may wear face masks during Thaipusam if they feel the need to do so.

Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple and Penang Hindu Endowment Board (PHEB) said they would not be distributing masks but encouraged devotees to wear them if they felt it necessary.

Temple chairman Datuk R. Subramaniam said they were unsure if any of the thaneer panthals (refreshment stalls) were planning on giving out masks as there had not been any announcements.

“We are looking at 1.3 million visitors.

“The crowd is expected to be larger this year because Thaipusam will fall on a weekend,” he said during a press conference on Thaipusam at Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple along Waterfall Road in Penang.

Subramaniam said there would be 160 thaneer panthals including sales outlets.

“Devotees will carry 400 colourful kavadis of various sizes.

“Several roads will be closed in stages for the celebration, including the stretch from Jalan Western to Jalan Kebun Bunga and the junction of Jalan Macalister up to the road leading to Jalan Air Terjun.

“The proposed alternative roads for motorists are Jalan Scott and Jalan Air Rajah.

“They are not allowed to park along these roads as they are access roads,” he said.

Subramaniam: We will not be distributing masks but encourage devotees to wear them if they feel it necessary.Subramaniam: We will not be distributing masks but encourage devotees to wear them if they feel it necessary.

PHEB chairman Dr P. Ramasamy said the golden chariot procession would start from Arulmigu Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Queen Street at 6am tomorrow.

The chariot is expected to reach Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Devasthanam Temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga on Saturday at 1am.

“Along the way, the parade will pass through Lebuh Chulia, Lebuh Victoria, Jalan Prangin, Jalan C.Y. Choy, Jalan Magazine, Jalan Dato Keramat and Jalan Utama.

“The return procession at 6pm on Sunday will go along Lorong Air Terjun, Jalan Gottlieb (u-turn), Jalan Air Rajah, Jalan Macalister, Jalan Anson, Jalan Burma, Jalan Transfer, Jalan Sri Bahari, Jalan Penang, Campbell Street, Cintra Street, Chulia Street, Pitt Street, Bishop Street, Penang Street, Chulia Street, King Street, China Street, Beach Street and Market Street.

“The chariot is expected to reach Arulmigu Sri Maha Mariamman Temple on Monday at 7am,” he said.

Ramasamy said only devotional songs should be played at the thaneer panthals and singing or dancing in front of the thaneer panthals are prohibited.

“The sale and consumption of alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and non-vegetarian food are prohibited in the temple premises and surrounding areas.

“Avoid using disposable plastic and polystyrene tableware.

“Shops and stall vendors should refrain from serving food in polystyrene containers,” said Ramasamy.

The golden and silver chariots are set to start their journeys about 60 minutes apart.

The silver chariot will leave Kovil Veedu in Penang Street to go to the Nattukotai Chettiar Temple in Waterfall Road tomorrow morning.

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