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Wednesday February 8, 2012

Devotees pray and fulfill vows in colourful celebration

IPOH: Hindu devotees flooded the streets of Ipoh during the Thaipusam festival as they walked to the Sri Subramaniar Temple in Gunung Cheroh.

Among them were three brothers, V. Silvarajoo, V. Paneer Chelvam and V. Pathmanathan, who said they had their wishes granted by Lord Murugan.

Silvarajoo, 50, succeeded in getting a transfer back from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh while his son obtained 9As in last year’s SPM examination.

For a good cause: A Hindu devotee carrying a colorful kavadi near the Sri Subramaniar Temple in Gunung Cheroh for the Thaipusam celebration.

Paneer Chelvam, 47, succeeded in earning a promotion to quality assurance manager.

Pathmanathan, the youngest of the trio at 36, also succeeded in getting a transfer back to Ipoh from the capital city.

“I also prayed for my wife’s health to improve, which came true as well,” said Pathmanathan.

Each of the brothers carried a kavadi from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple on Jalan Sungai Pari from early in the morning and walked to the Sri Subramaniar Temple. The brothers admitted it was no easy feat especially with the sweltering heat of the day, but were glad to fulfill their vows.

The kavadi cost them more than RM3,600 in total, and had taken two months to be built.

They were also joined by elated family members and friends who accompanied them on their walk of faith yesterday.

The festival witnessed a sea of devotees, many of whom carried the kavadi or pal kodum (milk pots) to fulfil their vows to Lord Muruga.

Sharp pierces: Hindu devotees with piercings on their bodies purifying themselves for Thaipusam.

Many bystanders and road users watched in amazement at the kavadi bearers as they proceed to accomplish their tough mission while walking barefoot.

They were joined by many devotees who livened up the environment with drums, trumpets and the singing of Tamil songs with loud hailers.

There were also countless devotees who danced along the way despite the searing hot weather, much to the delight of crowd who looked on.

Young devotees: Young Hindu devotees in colourful costumes at the Sri Subramaniar Temple.

At the Sri Subramaniar Temple in Gunung Cheroh, devotees had a chance to mingle with Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir who visited the temple with other state leaders.

A devotee, N. Ganesh, said the celebration was much more boisterous this year as the festival took place right after another public holiday for Maulidur Rasul.

The celebration, which commemorates the birth of Prophet Muhammad, fell on Sunday.

Crowded: Devotees and tourist thronging to Sri Subramaniar Temple.

“It is also encouraging to see people being generous,” said the 38-year-old, who helped to collect donations for the temple.

Housewife V. Saraswathy, 48, had arrived with her daughter R. Thabaseely,15, at 5am.

“I hope Lord Murugan will continue to bless my daughter with good health in years to come,” said Saraswathy.

Her daughter, the fifth of six siblings, has been paralysed from her waist down since birth.

The temple was also packed with photographers eager to capture interesting scenes.

Hair gone: Three-month-old R.Logentharan getting his hair shaved.

Among them was Annie Gooi, 36, who came all the way from Penang.

“My friend recommended I come here. The are so many exciting scenes to capture, especially the colourful kavadis,’ said the bank officer.

She agreed it was a rather hot day but felt the experience was worth sweating it out.

Shutterbugs also had a field day capturing enigmatic photos of kavadi bearers enduring great physical pain as their skin, tongue or cheeks were pierced with skewers.

Earlier in the day, a chariot procession bearing the image of Lord Murugan arrived at the temple before dawn after leaving from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple.

Ipoh Hindu Devasthana Paripalana Sabah secretary M. Vivekananda said there were a total of 900 kavadis, 20,000 milk offerings and more than 6,000 people who shaved their heads to mark the festival.

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