KUALA LUMPUR: Unlike the vibrant and colourful celebration of Thaipusam at the famous Batu Caves temple complex of years past, the occasion was marked under a subdued atmosphere this year.
Despite the “new normal” that seemingly subdued the lively Thaipusam spirit, devotees at Batu Caves were cooperative with the authorities and abided by the standard operating procedure (SOP) to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The low-key celebration was in respect of the ruling to cancel public events under the current movement control order.
There was not the usual sight of a sea of devotees this time around, a far cry from previous years that would see thousands of them thronging Batu Caves with passionate displays of worship and colours.
Instead, those present at Batu Caves yesterday were the police, the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela), temple staff and committee members as well as the media.
Rela guards stood watch at the temple entrance in order to ensure crowd control.
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam chairman Tan Sri R. Nadarajah said the Thaipusam celebration this year at Batu caves was a great and peaceful celebration despite being a quiet one.
“The devotees were very cooperative too, ” he said, adding that those who could not make it to Batu Caves managed to celebrate Thaipusam by live streaming from their respective homes.
The temple trustee Datuk Dr AT Kumararajah also praised the public for complying with the authorities’ request to stay at home and celebrate Thaipusam.
“I think there is a nearly 100% compliance and the Hindus have shown a level of maturity, which is extremely surprising.
“On behalf of the temple, we thank the public for being responsible and mature in mitigating the risks of the pandemic while observing the necessary SOP, ” he said.
At the same time, Dr Kumararajah also thanked the authorities for handling the Thaipusam celebration well this year.
Each year, thousands of devotees climb up Batu Caves’s 272 steps to commemorate the birthday of Lord Muruga, who was given a “vel” (spear) by his mother, Goddess Parvati, to vanquish the evil Soorapadman.
It is celebrated by Hindus in the Tamil month of Thai which falls either in January or February.