A slight drizzle could not keep Penangites from feasting their eyes on the procession of the golden and silver chariots this morning.

The Star reported that the golden chariot left the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple on Queen Street at 6am this morning, followed by the silver chariot which left the Kovil Veedu (Temple House) at Penang Street, an hour later.

According to the report, hundreds of devotees swarmed the Little India area as early as 5am to witness the placing of the Vel (spear) on the golden chariot, under the watchful eyes of enforcement personnel who were present to monitor and ensure adherence to COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The golden chariot, which is towed by a buggy, is expected to reach the Arulmigu Sri Bala Thandayuthapani Waterfall Hilltop Temple around noon today, while the silver chariot, which is pulled by two bulls, is expected to reach the the Nattukotai Chettiar Temple about the same time.

The time of arrival of the two chariots are way ahead of time, due to the many rituals skipped enroute to their destination, to observe COVID-19 SOPs.

Among the restrictions imposed on this year's Thaipusam celebrations are limiting only a certain number of temple committee members to follow the chariot processions.

Besides, the number of stops that chariots can make from their point of departure to their destination have also been curtailed.

The setting up of "Thannir pandhal" and "annathaanam" (food and drink offerings), which are common sights during chariot processions for Thaipusam, are also prohibited this time around.

For more Do's and Don'ts for this year's Thaipusam, check out Astro Ulagam's article HERE.

Source: The Star
Photo source: The Star