KUALA LUMPUR: Although Thaipusam will be celebrated only next Sunday, the atmosphere at the Batu Caves temple looked like a ‘mini Thaipusam’ as about 50,000 Hindu devotees thronged the temple today.
Batu Caves Sri Subramaniar Swamy Devasthanam Temple chairman, Tan Sri R. Nadarajah said since yesterday 3,000 Hindus had fulfilled their vows to carry ‘Paal Kudam’ – a vessel filled with milk.
“Hindu devotees have begun to flood Batu Caves since yesterday following the weekend break, and they have begun to fulfill their vows by carrying ‘Paal Kudam’ and ‘Kavadis’,” he told Bernama here today.
He said the number of visitors, including foreign tourists, was expected to increase tonight because of the cool weather and this was expected to continue until next Sunday.
Hindu devotees will celebrate Thaipusam on Sunday to commemorate the occasion where Lord Murugan received the sacred ‘Vel’ (spear) from his mother, goddess Parvati, so that he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman, and restore prosperity and well-being.
A Bernama observation found thousands of devotees dressed in yellow carrying vessels containing milk, some with shaved heads, and some carrying infants in ‘sugarcane cradles’ and climbing the 272 steps leading to the temple to perform their vows.
In the meantime, a variety of shops selling food, drinks, clothes and prayer items had opened in the temple compound.
Several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and political parties were also distributing free food and drinks to visitors here today.
Thaipusam celebrations will officially begin on Friday with the procession of the ‘Silver Chariot’ which is scheduled to start from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Jalan Tun H.S. Lee to Batu Caves at 10pm.
The Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) said this year more volunteers will be assisting in the cleaning up of Batu Caves in line with this year’s ‘Litter-Free Thaipusam’ campaign.MPMA Environment, Safety and Health executive Sri Umeswaran said the increase in the number of volunteers was possible with the cooperation of the Hindu Youth Organisation which will provide 400 volunteers over the two-day
period compared with 230 last year.
“These volunteers will be placed at 30 major spots around Batu Cave to collect rubbish thrown away by visitors and devotees. We believe this initiative will help ease the burden faced by the local authority in the post festival cleaning up, besides maintaining the green environment of the area,” he told reporters after the launch of the ‘Litter-free Thaipusam 2016’ campaign at Batu Caves, here today.
According to Sri Umeswaran, last year the same campaign helped to reduce 40 percent of manpower needed to clean the area after Thaipusam with 280 tonnes of rubbish collected compared with 200 tonnes in 2014.
The cleaning campaign will begin at 10am on Saturday to coincide with the arrival of the silver chariot at Batu Caves, Selangor, and will end at 6pm on Sunday.
This is the second time the campaign was being organised by MPMA, the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam (Temple Committee) and the Hindu Youth Organisation to create awareness of a clean environment among the public.
It is also in support of the National Waste Separation policy which came into effect on Sept 1, last year, he said.- BERNAMA