KUALA LUMPUR: In honour of an age-old tradition, the silver chariot procession is back in spirit to kick off the commencement of the three-day Thaipusam celebrations after two years of Covid-19 restrictions.
Approximately 1.6 million devotees thronged the routes to witness the annual procession bearing Lord Muruga and his consort's Valli and Theivana.
The chariot procession began at the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Jalan Tun H.S Lee at 10 pm heading towards the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple in Batu Caves where it is expected to arrive at 3pm tomorrow.
Vibrant, colourful and lively, Thaipusam is celebrated with much festivity by huge number of devotees as well as tourists in the heart of the city.
Traditional drummers beat on urumi melams (hour-glass shaped drums), thavils (barrel shaped drum), jaalras (clash cymbals), and thappus (round drums) as devotees carry milk (paal kudam) and chant vel, vel, vetri vel, and Vetri Vel Murugan Arogara throughout the procession.
Around five thousand devotees, including the elderly, women, and children, clad in yellow traditional dress and walking barefoot carry the paal kudam or milk pot during the chariot procession.
The chariot stops at several points along its journey to allow gatherings of devotees to offer prayers and devotional music played and heard throughout the procession route.
There are about 300 police personnel being stationed at various streets, where the silver chariot will be passing through various checkpoints along it's journey towards Batu Caves.
Other security personnel including Fire and rescue department, traffic police and People's Volunteer Corps (Rela) were present to ensure the safety of the chariot procession and the throngs of worshippers.
The chariot procession, which takes place on the eve of Thaipusam is an annual celebration that allows tourists to see the arrival of the chariot throughout the 16 kilometres route.
The temple's committee secretary chairman C. Sethupathy said that the return journey of the chariot from Batu Caves back to the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple is expected to be from 3.30pm to 11.59pm on Monday.