Hilltop temple to provide rooms for breastfeeding mothers during Thaipusam

Kuvenaraju (extreme right) and his committee members discussing details in the printed Thaipusam leaflet in Penang.

THE Arulmigu Sree Balathandayuthapani Waterfall Hilltop Temple management will set up baby care rooms for breastfeeding mothers during Thaipusam.

Temple management chairman Datuk Seri P. Kuvenaraju said the rooms would be located at the hilltop temple as well as next to the management office at the foot of the temple.

This will be the first time the temple management is providing the rooms.

He said they had received requests from individuals and also refreshment stall operators about having such amenities.

“Some stall operators will also have their own baby care rooms,” he said during a press conference at the temple.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) refreshment stall operator advisor R. Muniandy lauded the move by the temple management.

“We will also have power sockets for mothers who need to express milk using pumps,” he added.

He said volunteers would monitor the rooms’ cleanliness and collect users’ details.

Kuvenaraju said the temple anticipated some 1.5 million devotees and visitors on Saturday.

“We are expecting the crowd to be bigger on Sunday because Chap Goh Meh and Thaipusam fall on the same day.

“The festival will kick off with special prayers on Friday, followed by the silver and golden chariot processions on Saturday, while Sunday and Monday will see the return journey of both chariots,” he added.

The golden chariot will leave the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Queen Street at 6am on Saturday and will go through Lebuh Chulia, Lebuh Victoria, Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong, Jalan CY Choy, Jalan Magazine, Jalan Datuk Keramat, Jalan Utama and Jalan Kebun Bunga on its journey to the hilltop temple.

Kuvenaraju said the chariot’s journey was expected to take about 20 hours, reaching the temple at about 3am on Sunday.

“Its return journey will start at 6pm from the hilltop temple.”

He said some 20,000 to 30,000 kavadi besides hundreds of thousands of milk pots (paal kudam) would be carried this year.

“Only the traditional kavadi, decorative kavadi, milk pots and chembu (mini milk pots) will be allowed, while kavadi bearing non-religious symbols will be banned.

“The bigger kavadi will have to stop at the foothill to avoid hindering other devotees going up to the temple.

“Only traditional and devotional music will be allowed and consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited in the temple’s vicinity,” he said.

He added that fireworks were also not allowed.

There will be 150 refreshment stalls, with many serving free vegetarian food and drinks.

“We hope there will be no food wastage and visitors will only take what they need,” said Kuvenaraju.

“We have advised stall operators to control the volume of food and stagger distribution times,” he said.

Ambulance and medical emergency services as well as the Fire and Rescue Department will be on standby, together with police and Rela personnel, he added.

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