Slower silver chariot in Penang this year due to new rules


Temple volunteers prepping one of the 16 bulls that will stand by along the 6.5km-route plied by the seven-ton silver chariot. The bulls are changed continually along the route to protect them from exhaustion.

Temple volunteers prepping one of the 16 bulls that will stand by along the 6.5km-route plied by the seven-ton silver chariot. The bulls are changed continually along the route to protect them from exhaustion.

GEORGE TOWN: The silver chariot is expected to reach Waterfall Road here later than in previous years due to new restrictions put in place recently.

The Penang Veterinary Department had restricted the number of people on the chariot to two, down from five previously.

Nattukotai Chettiar Temple managing trustee Dr A. Narayanan said the Department had sent them a letter saying that only two people, including the priest, were allowed on the chariot.

"As such, there will only be one person handling offerings, creating a major delay for the movement of the chariot," said Dr Narayanan on Sunday (Jan 20).

"We receive offerings from all sides during the procession, which is usually handled by four people on the chariot.

"With the new rule, it will take hours to complete the blessings for offerings from devotees," he said.

It is believed that the restriction was imposed after complaints were received over the use of bulls to pull the chariot, which weighs seven tons.

Dr Narayanan had earlier explained that there were 16 bulls being used over the 6.5km route, and each pair of animals would get enough rest.

He said there would be a large number of devotees giving offerings this year and with the restriction, the silver chariot is only expected to reach the Natukkotai Chettiar Temple at around 4am or even later.

Thaipusam , Bulls , Silver chariot