Clash of the chariots is on


Devotees’ dilemma: The Nattukottai Chettiar Temple silver chariot (left) will not have the streets to itself next Thaipusam as the PHEB golden chariot (right) will be travelling on the same route on the same day.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Hindu Endowment Board (PHEB) will not change the date of its golden chariot procession despite a request by the Nattukottai Chettiar Temple to reconsider having it on the same day as the temple’s silver chariot parade.

Board executive director M. Ramachandran said a number of announcements on the golden chariot procession was made at the beginning of the year.

“The public will not be confused as we have kept them informed.

“If the temple has anything to say, the committee can communicate with us directly,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Ramachandran was responding to Nattukottai Chettiar Temple managing trustee Dr A. Narayanan’s statement urging the board to reconsider their decision.

In the statement, Dr Narayanan said that it was undesirable to have two chariots travelling on the same day along the same route within an hour of each other.

“This will bring many logistic and security issues for the state government and police.

“The devotees offering prayers to Lord Muruga will be in a dilemma.

“We welcome the board’s golden chariot initiative but would like to conduct Thaipusam as per the long-standing tradition,” he said.

Dr Narayanan said the silver chariot procession would start on Feb 8 at 6.30am from the Kovil Veedu in Penang Street and proceed along the usual route before reaching the Nattukottai Chettiar Temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga the same day.

Earlier this year, PHEB chairman Dr P. Ramasamy announced that the board would be organising its own procession.

It was reported that certain Indian non-governmental organisations had urged the board to take over the running of the chariot procession as they did not want one group to monopolise it.

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