The Flag is Raised at Kallumalai Temple

A flag hoisting ceremony known as ‘Kodi Yetram’ took place early this morning at the Kallumalai Arulmigu Subramaniar Temple to kickstart this deeply religious festival. The flag of the temple is raised once a year as a gesture of respect and devotion to God and also marks the beginning of the festival.

Devotees participating in the cleansing of the flag

This ritual is performed as an initiation to Thaipusam, which includes incantation of religious devotional music and hymns, the cleansing of the ‘flag’ and then raising it high for all to see. Throngs of devotees dressed in bright coloured sarees and white ‘veshtis’ gathered to participate in this activity. The ‘flag’ will remain flying until the festival ends.

Devotees follow the priest for the flag raising ceremony

Thaipusam is actually derived from ‘Thai’ which means “10th”, and ‘Pusam’ meaning, when the moon is at its brightest. Hence this festival is celebrated by the Hindu community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). This day is a day of prayer and penance which is dedicated to Lord Murugan, the deity of Youth, Power, and Virtue.

The priest of the temple happy to see so many devotees this year

Thaipusam holds a time of repentance for devotees with the many rituals mainly carried out in the temple. It is also a day to go with family members to offer prayers and to seek spiritual solace. This 3-day celebration symbolises the gratitude and affection for the Hindu, God of War and is attended by thousands of devotees.

Devotees doing Rolling Prostrations around the temple grounds

Devotees perform their archanai (prayers), paal koodam (milk offerings), hair offering vows and Angapradakshinam, a ritual which involves them performing rolling prostrations around the temple grounds.

A major ritual that some of the brave hearts undertake during Thaipusam is the carrying of the ‘Kavadi’, a large beautifully decorated vessel usually containing milk and is attached to the upper body with skewers and needles.

Those who intend to carry the ‘Kavadi’ observe a strict soul cleansing period of purification; fasting, penitence, prayers and adhere to a pure vegetarian diet. It is believed that devotees who carry their ‘Kavadi’ to the temple with pure intent, will have their wishes granted.

M.Vivekananda, President of Ipoh Hindu Devasthana Paripalana Sabah

Speaking to President of Ipoh Hindu Devasthana Paripalana Sabah, M Vivekananda this morning;

“We expect half a million visitors for Thaipusam this year after two years of muted celebrations due to the pandemic. Things are back to normal and people are anticipating a grand event here this weekend”

‘’There will be about 1,000 participants who will be carrying ‘Kavadi’ this Sunday. It will be a sight to behold but more importantly we implore to the people of Ipoh, please adhere to the rules and regulations laid down by the authorities as well as the police.

There will be no fireworks, no alcohol and please maintain the cleanliness of the area you are in. With the assistance from DBI, we have put up extra trash bins all around town. Please use them, it is our duty to keep our city clean and to respect each other”

Meanwhile, Ipoh district police chief Assistant Commissioner Yahaya Hassan reportedly said that several roads around Ipoh would be closed in stages from 6pm today (Feb 3) until Tues (Feb 7) for the Thaipusam procession.

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