Chariot processions for Hindu festival called off

The customary golden chariot procession from Courthill Sri Ganesar Temple in Jalan Pudu Lama to the city centre in conjunction with Vinayagar Chaturthi will not take place this year. — Filepic

THERE will be no chariot processions for the Vinayagar Chaturthi festival tomorrow, says Malaysian Hindu Sangam president.

Datuk R.S. Mohan Shan explained that temples had decided to cancel their customary chariot processions as it would be very difficult to follow the National Security Council’s (MKN) standard operating procedures (SOP) under the recovery movement control order.

The festival is held annually in celebration of Lord Ganesha.

Mohan said that despite the cancellation of chariot processions, special prayers at temples would continue as planned.

“Devotees can visit temples to observe the special prayers while adhering to the SOP, such as compulsory wearing of face masks, sanitising hands and maintaining physical distancing.

“Temples will only be able to accept one-third of their maximum visitor capacity at a time.

“So, I advise devotees to choose their visiting time wisely, to avoid disappointment or delay in gaining entry.

“Devotees can also choose to conduct special prayers for Lord Ganesha at home, which is just as good,” he said.

He reiterated that while it was important to observe religious festivals, the ongoing battle against Covid-19 should always be remembered.

“We do not want any new cluster originating from devotees observing this festival.

“Therefore, I hope everyone involved will practise self-regulation and do what has been told,” he added.

Kuala Lumpur Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam chairman Tan Sri R. Nadarajah said in a statement that the three temples under its management, including Courthill Sri Ganesar Temple in Jalan Pudu Lama, would celebrate the festival on a moderate scale.

“Unlike previous years, there will be no golden chariot procession from the Courthill Sri Ganesar Temple to the city centre on the eve of the festival.

“We do not encourage public gatherings, which will be the case if the procession takes place.

“All prayers will take place only in the respective temples,” he stressed.

Kampung Pandan Sri Ganesar Temple president Datuk S.P. Ravichandran also said the Vinayagar Chaturthi celebration at the temple would be on a moderate scale and without the silver chariot procession.

“Special prayers in the morning and evening will be conducted as usual.

“As a crowd control measure, the hall next to the temple will be turned into a waiting area for devotees as they take turns to pray in the temple,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sri Sakthi Vinayagar Temple Brickfields chairman SKK Naidu said there would be no customary chariot procession although special prayers would be held.

“The temple will be open from 7am to 11.30pm, and MKN’s SOP will be strictly observed.

“Devotees must wear face masks or will be denied entry. Packed food will be distributed at noon and after evening prayers, which will start at 6.30pm,” he said.

Pudu (Pasar Road) Sri Sitti Vinayagar Temple administrative association spokesman said its chariot would make a symbolic round within the temple grounds due to the restriction on processions.

“We will follow the SOP strictly.

“We have also prepared face masks to be given out free to devotees who do not have one before they enter the temple premises,” he added.

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