Journey of faith for pilgrims

GEORGE TOWN: Thaipusam is a journey of faith for financial services supervisor A. Subramaniam, who has been carrying the kavadi for the past 16 years.

“My prayers to Lord Muruga have always been answered, whether in studies, work or health.

“This is something I will continue to do for as long as I live,” said the 37-year-old, who carried an elaborate 25kg kavadi this year, depicting Lord Muruga mounted on his peacock.

Test of faith: Kavadi bearers heading to the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani hilltop temple in Penang Saturday.

The Penang-born devotee said he spent about RM2,800 on his kavadi.

He was among the thousands of pilgrims who made their way from Datuk Keramat Road to the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani hilltop temple along Waterfall Road.

Wheelchair-bound K. Suriakala, 47, said she was making the pilgrimage for the fifth time.

“I feel very happy to be able to come here today. This year, I am praying for good health and to be able to walk one day,” she said.

The three-day festival, which ended yesterday, saw devotees breaking coconuts, shaving their heads and carrying kavadis and milk pots to the temple.

Offerings for the God: Hindu devotees carrying milk pots at the Sri Muniswarar Temple in Tampoi, Johor Baru Saturday.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was among the state’s political leaders who joined in the festivities yesterday.

The silver chariot bearing a statue of Lord Muruga will make its way back to the Kovil Veedu in Penang Street today and arrive early tomorrow.

In Tampoi, Johor, thousands of devotees braved the blazing sun to fulfil their vows at the Sri Muniswarar Temple.

Chants of “Vel, vel” filled the air as devotees, bearing milk pots and kavadis, walked towards the temple around 11am.

Tourist Aslaug Osp Adalsteinsdottir, 57, from Iceland, who witnessed Thaipusam in Penang last year, said the spectacle never ceased to amaze her.

“It is extraordinary how the Hindus are able to walk barefoot across burning coal,’’ she said, adding that their strong will and faith were admirable.

Canadian Shiela Linds (pic), 54, who witnessed the festival for the first time, said it was a fantastic experience.

“The whole festival is so full of colour,” she added.

Many stalls were set up on both sides of the road, selling cold drinks, snacks, toys and religious paraphernalia.


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