GEORGE TOWN, MALAYSIA, January 25, 2013 (Free Malaysia Today): About a million people are expected to throng the Waterfall vicinity here to celebrate the four-day annual Thaipusam festival, the state's biggest Hindu event of the year.
The Waterfall area is where several temples of Lord Muruga, the Nattukottai Chettiar community's Sri Thandayuthabani Kovil and the Balathandayuthabani Kovil, are located.
The new hilltop temple, built at cost of approximately US$3.3 million, is arguably the largest ornate Hindu temple outside India dedicated to Lord Muruga Perumaan. For thousands of Hindus, this will be the first time they'll get to see the new temple, which had its grand consecration ceremony last June.
The Silver Chariot procession will kick-start the festival tomorrow at 6am from Kovil Veedu in Penang Street and scheduled to reach the Thandayuthabani Kovil in Waterfall by midnight. The chariot's return trip will be on Monday evening at 6pm and scheduled to reach home at Kovil Veedu on Tuesday 8am.
About 200 tanneer panthals (refreshment sheds) will be erected and thousands of coconuts will be smashed by devotees along the Silver Chariot procession route. Hundreds of devotees will carry various forms of kavadi in penance or in gratitude to Lord Muruga Perumaan for vows fulfilled.