KUALA LUMPUR: The Thaipusam celebration at the Batu Caves Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple will be back in full swing, with 1.6 million people expected to throng its grounds.
The temple committee’s secretary, C. Sethupathy, said all the necessary preparations were in progress, with more than 90% of the logistics requirements fulfilled.
“We are just waiting for the silver chariot procession, which will be moving to Batu Caves on Friday (today),” he said yesterday.
Hindus will mark Thaipusam, a festival dedicated to Lord Murugan, on Feb 5 this year.
A procession of silver chariots carrying statues of the deity and his two wives, the goddesses Valli and Devi Theivanai, will take off from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Jalan Tun HS Lee here to Batu Caves today.
The procession will begin at 10pm and arrive at its destination at 3pm on Saturday.
The return journey from Batu Caves back to the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple is expected to take place from 3.30pm to about midnight on Monday.
Sethupathy said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari would attend the Thaipusam celebration on Sunday.
He also said the temple committee had conducted various engagements with the relevant authorities, such as the city council and the police, to ensure that the procession would go on smoothly.
According to Sethupathy, more than 1.6 million visitors and devotees are expected to participate in the four-day itinerary of Thaipusam events beginning today.
“We are anticipating a huge crowd at the celebration and we have put in place the necessary preparations for it,” he added.
Datuk Dr AT Kumararajah, who is the temple’s medical and emergency coordinator, said the anticipated surge in the number of attendees and devotees is due to the many festivities being held.
“This year’s celebration will revolve around the country’s road to recovery after the muted celebration the last two years.
“There are no more (Covid-19) restrictions this year, and I believe many people will be out in full force,” he said.
He added that more than 1,500 personnel, including those from the Health Ministry, have been deployed to ensure a successful celebration.
“We are making sure that all the needed facilities such as bathrooms and safety compliance, have been taken care of properly,” he added.
Kumararajah also said a temporary base for a government-integrated radio network had been set up to allow seamless connectivity among relevant agencies to ensure the safety of visitors in the event of an emergency during the festivities.