Temple committee: Over 1,000 volunteers to assist Batu Caves temple ensure SOP compliance during Thaipusam

Temple committee: Over 1,000 volunteers to assist Batu Caves temple ensure SOP compliance during Thaipusam

Hindu devotees carry offerings on their heads as they climb the steps to the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Batu Caves January 12, 2022. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13— The Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple in Batu Caves, Selangor, near here, will be mobilising over 1,000 volunteers in assisting Hindus celebrate Thaipusam this January 18 by ensuring compliance with the standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the government.

The temple committee’s honorary secretary, C. Sethupathy said that so far, over 500 volunteers comprising members of the public had registered as volunteers while the rest comprised the temple’s committee members and temple goers.

“These volunteers will assist in ensuring social distancing by the devotees and visitors, scanning of the MySejahtera QR code before entering the cave temple and adherence to the other SOP,” he added.

Sethupathy said this temple, also renowned for having the largest Lord Murugan statue in the world, with a height of 42.7 metres, was making the final preparations for the religious celebration by tightening the SOP and ensuring compliance in curbing the spread of Covid-19.

He said the temple committee was also handling the online registration for devotees who would be carrying the ‘paal koodam’ or milk pots so as to smoothen the procession during the celebration without any lax in adhering to the SOP set.

Thaipusam is celebrated by Hindus throughout the world in the month of ‘Thai’, the 10th month in the Tamil calendar to commemorate the incident in which Lord Murugan received the holy spear from his mother, Parvati to destroy the evil Soorapadman, and return peace and prosperity to mankind.

Malaysian Hindu devotees carry milk pots at Batu Caves, January 13, 2022. — Picture by Hari Anggara

During the Thaipusam celebration, the Hindu devotees would fulfil their vows by carrying the ‘paal koodam’, considered the most sacred item, as well as the beautifully-decorated ‘kavadi’ up a flight of 272 steps to the cave temple.  

Sethupathy said the Thaipusam celebration would start on January 16 with the silver chariot procession, carrying the idols of Lord Murugan and his two wives, goddesses Valli and Devi Theivanai from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, here, to Batu Caves starting at 10pm and the expected arrival at 10am the next day.

The return procession from Batu Caves will start at 4pm on January 9 and arrival at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple late at night the same day with both processions involving only 70 members of the temple’s management while members of the public are not allowed to attend.

Yesterday, National Unity Minister, Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique announced that carrying of the ‘paal koodam’, prayers and chariot procession would be allowed but without the kavadi for the Thaipusam celebration this time.

The SOP set for the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple, Batu Caves includes the number of visitors not exceeding 6,000 each day, a limit of 100 persons for the ‘paal koodam’ and 30 minutes for each prayer session followed by sanitation at the temple site.

In Malaysia, Thaipusam is also celebrated in big way at the Sri Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani Temple located on a hill in Penang and Arul Subramaniar Temple, close to the Cheruh limestone hills in Ipoh, Perak. — Bernama

A general view of the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple at Batu Caves January 12, 2022. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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