As the auspicious Hindu festival of Thaipusam approaches, it is estimated that approximately one million Hindu devotees are expected to be in Penang from January 24 to 26 to celebrate this holy festival.
RSN Rayer, Chairman of the Penang Hindu Endowments Board (PHEB), has unveiled plans for a unique festival this year, dubbing it ‘Thaipusam of Unity’. Both the gold and silver chariots will participate in a shared procession towards the Jalan Kebun Bunga temple, embodying the spirit of harmony on this upcoming religious occasion. The Hindu ritual symbolises fraternity as both chariots will move harmoniously through the streets, separated by approximately 1km, with the goal of reaching the temple by 11 p.m.
In a bid to preempt any potential delays, RSN Rayer articulated a proactive strategy for the upcoming Thaipusam procession. This initiative comes in response to previous occurrences where the chariots, in transit to the temple, experienced considerable delays, taking the chariot nearly 24 hours to reach its destination.
In a meticulously planned schedule, the golden chariot is slated to embark on its journey from the temple at Lebuh Queen at 5:30 a.m. on January 24, with the silver chariot following suit an hour later from the temple at Lebuh Penang. Both chariots will return simultaneously to their respective temples on January 26.
In anticipation of the religious event and the vast number of devotees and spectators that will attend, the organisers have strategically positioned 150 thaneer panthal (refreshment stalls) along the procession route to cater to the needs of participants and spectators.
Adding to the ceremonial spirit, RSN Rayer had previously attended the Kesuma Madani programme held at the Thanner Malai Temple. This event served as a prelude to the upcoming Thaipusam celebrations, emphasising community dedication and cultural festivities in preparation for the grand procession.