IPOH: Thaipusam celebrations here proceeded on a moderate scale on Tuesday (Jan 18).
Without kavadis and refreshment stalls, it was a quiet affair where devotees came, offered milk, prayed to Lord Muruga, and left.
Several of them walked barefoot with "paal koodam" (milk pots) for a short distance to the Sri Subramaniar Temple in Gunung Cheroh.
There was relative quiet at the temple grounds and surrounding area, usually bustling with activity during this festival, with only the temple committee making announcements from time to time.
Ipoh Hindu Devasthana Paripalana Sabah president M. Vivekananda said Ipoh was known for its lighted kavadis at Thaipusam.
“It is sad to see that the celebration is not lively with no kavadis and stalls this year.
“Usually 400,000 people visit the temple grounds on Thaipusam day, but until now only about 4,000 people have come to offer prayers,” he said at the temple on Tuesday.
The committee manages the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Jalan Sungai Pari and the Sri Subramaniar Temple in Gunung Cheroh.
However, Vivekananda said all devotees adhered to the required standard operating procedures (SOP), with the committee issuing frequent reminders about adherence.
“I hope next year, the government will allow kavadis and refreshment stalls, as small-time traders are greatly affected," he added.
Sisters M. Shanupriya, 22, and Sashveen, 24, who were at the temple on Tuesday, said they already offered milk to Lord Muruga on Sunday (Jan 16) to avoid the crowd.
Shanupriya, who is studying law, said she was there at 5am on Sunday.
“The celebration this time is very quiet, without any stalls and kavadis, but at the same time it is nice and peaceful.
“We finished our prayers within 15 minutes and will be heading home,” she said.
Sashveen said she just graduated and was looking for a job, and came to the temple to ask for Lord Muruga’s blessing.
Siblings K. Arven, 24, Mahtesh, 23, and Rutrasry, 18, carried milk pots to pray for their father’s health.
Arven said his father had not been feeling well lately, and faced many obstacles.
“We have been carrying milk pots yearly, but this time, we are praying for the well-being of our father.
“I am so grateful that this year, we are allowed to offer milk to Lord Muruga unlike the tight SOP last Thaipusam,” he added.