Arrangements made to ensure there’s no gridlock or confusion on roads, says board

GEORGE TOWN: There will be no traffic congestions when the golden and silver chariots take to the street here for Thaipusam.

Penang Hindu Endowment Board executive director M. Ramachandran said arrangements were made to ensure the procession would go smoothly.

“There will be no issue of two chariots using a narrow road, creating discord or confusion, gridlock on the road or causing chaos as reported by the press.

“The confusion is coming from a small group pretending not to know and deliberately out to cause mischief,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said the golden chariot, bearing the vel (spear used by Lord Muruga as his divine weapon), would make its maiden trip from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Queen Street at 5am on Feb 8 and arrive at the Sri Balathandayuthapani Hilltop Temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga at around 11pm.

“This is the first time in history where a chariot would make its journey carrying a vel which is the main significance for the start of Thaipusam,” he said.

Ramachandran said a well-wisher contri­buted the wooden structure and accessories that made up the golden chariot while the board absorbed the RM3mil cost for the gold and workmanship.

Earlier, the Nattukotai Chettiars announced that their silver chariot would begin its journey at 6.30am from Kovil Veedu in Penang Street to their temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga on the same day.

On Dec 31, The Star quoted Nattukotai Chettiar Temple trustee Dr A. Narayanan as saying that two chariots would cause chaos and confusion among devotees, besides traffic problems.

Malaysia Hindu Sangam president Datuk R.S. Mohan Shan said the association was against two chariot processions during Thaipusam.

“We want to assist both sides reach an amicable settlement but none of them has sought our help,” he said.

Some Hindus have posted on WhatsApp groups asking certain people not to attack the Chettiars with half-truths.

They made the call after a man, believed to be a politician, posted articles and audio clips critical of the Chettiars.