IPOH: The usually bustling Sri Subramaniar Temple in Gunung Cheroh here saw Thaipusam being celebrated on a moderate scale this year in compliance with the standard operating procedure (SOP).
As the Covid-19 pandemic is still ongoing, only devotional songs and announcements by the temple committee were heard from time to time.
Without any kavadi and thaneer panthal (refreshment stalls), it was a quiet affair where devotees came, offered milk, prayed to Lord Muruga and left.
Some of them walked barefoot with paal kudam (milk pots) for a short distance to the temple.
Ipoh Hindu Devasthana Paripalana Sabah president M. Vivekananda said Ipoh was well known for its lighted kavadi during Thaipusam.
“It is sad to see that the celebration is not lively without any kavadi and stalls this year.
“Usually, there are over 400,000 people visiting the temple grounds on Thaipusam but today, only about 4,000 people came to offer their prayers,” he said at the temple yesterday.
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 SOP and the committee had also been reminding devotees of the importance of following the guidelines.
“I am hoping that the government will allow kavadi and refreshment stalls next year as small-time traders are greatly affected by the current SOP.
“Ipoh has been among the places that draw large crowds during Thaipusam due to the unique lighted kavadi,” he added.
Sisters M. Shanupriya, 22, and Sashveen, 24, said they went to the temple grounds to offer milk to Lord Muruga on Sunday to avoid the crowd.
Shanupriya, who is studying law, said she was at the temple at 5am.
“The celebration this year is very quiet but at the same time, it is peaceful. We finished our prayers within 15 minutes,” she added.
Sashveen said she recently graduated and was looking for a job, so she came to the temple to seek Lord Muruga’s blessing.
Siblings K. Arven, 24, Mahtesh, 23, and Rutrasry, 18, carried paal kudam to pray for their father’s health.
Arven said his father had not been feeling well lately and had endured many obstacles.
“We have been carrying milk pots yearly but this time, we are praying for our father’s well-being.
“I am grateful that this year, we are allowed to offer milk to Lord Muruga, unlike the last Thaipusam,” he said.