KUALA LUMPUR: After a 10-hour journey, the silver chariot ferrying Lord Muruga arrived at the foot of the Batu Caves temple at 2pm yesterday, marking the celebration of Thaipusam.
The 7m-long chariot departed from Jalan Bandar Sri Maha Mariamman Temple here at 4am accompanied by thousands of devotees, which is part of the annual pilgrimage for Hindu devotees throughout the country.
Hundreds of devotees women in yellow outfits carrying paal kudom (milk pots) and men carrying colourful kavadi marched through the thick, swelling crowd to ascend the 272 steep steps to reach the Batu Caves temple.
The morning traffic flow was affected as the chariot passed through many major roads in the city such as Jalan Ipoh.
As early as Saturday, devotees have been arriving at Batu Caves and we are expecting 1.5 million visitors this year and 20% of them are foreign tourists, said Sri Maha Mariamman Temple committee chairman R. Nadarajah after the arrival of the chariot.
So far 4,500 devotees have carried the kavadi and we expect a total of 18,000 kavadi this festival, said Nadarajah.
He said the temple management spent RM300,000 to improve public facilities such as toilets and bathing areas and to provide clean water.
On the issue of the RM10 fee for milk pots, he said: It is not compulsory to buy the RM10 ticket. They (milk pot carriers) can even drop the money in the undial (donation box). We don't force them to pay. It is part of the income to the management to develop the area, it is a donation to the temple.
Treat this as a religious festival and don't make a fuss, he said.
Police have advised devotees not to wear jewellery to avoid thefts. Bernama