500,000 Hindus to attend 'Mini Thaipusam' near Maran tonight

T.N. Alagesh

MARAN: More than 500,000 Hindu devotees are expected to attend the annual Pangguni Uthiram festival tonight at the Sri Marathandavar Aalayam temple near here.

Dubbed as the "Mini Thaipusam", the two-day special prayers which ends tomorrow will see devotees from all over the country making their way to the temple for the festival, which is dedicated to Lord Muruga.

The temple, located near a riverbank in the middle of an oil palm plantation at Km110 of the Kuantan-Jerantut road here, has also emerged as a popular tourist destination during weekends and public holidays.

A temple spokesman said the management has cleaned up the temple premises after flood waters had inundated the area early this year.

"Despite the recent flood incident, all the cleaning and painting works have been completed for the grand festival.

"Since it will be celebrated during the weekend, we are expecting a huge crowd including tourist.

"To avoid traffic congestion, the temple management has provided bus parking at designated areas and vehicle parking lots under the oil palm trees to provide shade," he said when contacted.

Pangguni Uthiram, is a festival celebrated on the last month of the Tamil calendar.

Meanwhile, participants in the 38th Maran walk from Batu Caves, Selangor, have started to arrive in stages at the temple premises since early this morning.

A spokesman for Srimath Pamban Swamigal Punitha Patha Yathira Association, one of the groups organising the walk, said some 200 devotees who registered with them had began their 204km walk from Batu Caves at 4am on April 5.

The devotees had spend the nights during their three-day walk at SRJK Tamil in Karak, Bentong and temples in Temerloh, and Jengka 16 along their way.

The devotees start their walk at 3am daily in order to reach their destinations before dark.

Various organisations, temples and individuals provided food and drinks for the devotees participating in the holy walk.

Some of the devotees, at the end of their walk, carried kavadis and milk pots to fulfil their vows.