KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — For the first time, the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple, Batu Caves’ silver chariot will make its journey with a limited participation of 10 people, without involving the public in conjunction with Thaipusam this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The chariot processions, which started in 1983, were normally accompanied by 10,000 Hindu devotees and took about 16 hours but this time its journey would be faster and expected to end in about three hours without making a stop at any location.
The temple’s committee chairman, Tan Sri R. Nadarajah said the 10 people who would be accompanying the 7.3-meter high chariot would include the driver, electrical technician, lighting man, a temple priest, and five committee members.
The silver chariot ferrying the statues of Lord Murugan and his two wives Dewi Valli and Devi Theivanai would journey from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Jalan Tun H.S Lee here, at 2.30 am, January 27 after a prayer ceremony.
‘’The chariot is expected to arrive at Batu Caves at 5.30 to 6 am, on the same day. It will return to the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple at 2.30 am on January 29,” he said, today.
He stressed that the chariot would travel to Batu Caves, which is renowned for the biggest Lord Murugan statue in the world with a height of 42.7 metres, without any traditional musical accompaniment and stops at any location as it did over the years and would be strictly supervised by the police.
Yesterday, Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said only the journey of the chariot bearing the statue of Lord Murugan to Batu Caves was allowed and it was unlike the regular processions normally conducted during Thaipusam prior to this.
Nadarajah promised that the standard operation procedures (SOP) set by the National Security Council (MKN) and the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) would be complied with during the journey by the chariot and on the day of celebration.
He also urged Hindus not to take part in the procession and not to turn up at the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple on Thaipusam day on January 28 in the light of the national situation in facing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thaipusam is a festival celebrated by Hindus worldwide in the month of ‘Thai’, namely, the 10th month in the Tamil calender to remember the event when Lord Murugan received a holy spear from his mother, Dewi Parvati, to eradicate the evil force, Soorapadman, and bring back peace and prosperity to humankind.