Devotees pay tribute to Lord Muruga

Pongal celebration earlier in January with the start of the Thai month at the Batu Caves temple where Thaipusam has been celebrated for decades by devotees of Lord Subramaniam. Photo courtesy of Batu Caves Temple Facebook/Photo by Tan Kai Swee
A quiet Thaipusam event at the Sri Subramaniam Temple in Teluk Intan

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 – Worldwide, devotees of Lord Muruga, who is also called Arumugam, Subramaniam and Kartikeya among other names, today will observe Thaipusam or the full moon in the month of Thai in the Tamil calendar, which marks the victory of the Vel or spear-wielding Muruga over evil.

In Malaysia, the celebration this year will be a subdued event in view of the Covid-19 with devotees allowed to carry out their prayers and penances with the observation of standard operating procedures set in all the temples and sites where the Thaipusam festivals are observed.

At the Batu Caves, devotees started paying their respect from earlier this week in line with the rules that had been set by the Ministry of Health and the temple committee.

While some of the regular rituals have been disallowed such as Kavadi-carrying or children getting their hair shaved bald, devotees have been going up the 272 steps of the Batu Caves with their Pal Kodam (vessels filled with milk) to perform their pooja (prayers) at the cave temple.

More than 1,000 police personnel as well as other voluntary workers have been deployed to ensure smooth operations at the Batu Caves, which has been among the strongest tourist attractions in the country till the recent pandemic.