Thaipusam 2009

February 8th, 2009 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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Got up at 5.15am, got all the things packed and happily left home…until half way along the way, I realised I forgot to bring the camera!!! So, no pictures this Thaipusam…. 🙁

Anyway, reached Batu Caves at 7.10am, it took 40 minutes. Traffic was congested at the area in front of the temple. Parking cost RM10 while haircut cost RM15 this time.

The trip from main gate till to the top took some time since the management made some changes on the lanes, but no proper notices were found. The main gate was quite jammed with paal kudam and kavadi bearers stuck with visitors and tourists.

This time around, the 3 columns of stairs were divided as follows: left lane for visitors/tourists etc to go up; middle lane for kavadi, and right lane for everyone to come down from cave. So, it was quite easy for us to climb the stairs as compared to previous years. Unfortunately, getting down was a bit slow due to one lane only. Can’t help it I guess.

The situation in the cave was crowded around 8 till 9am as paal kudam carriers had to compete with visitors and tourists for access to the deity area. However, one major improvement this time is the notice boards in the came which dedicates paths for different categories – archanai, paal kudam, main deity, and kavadi. This should have been done from the main gate and with proper barricades as well.

We felt the crowd was not as much as two years ago. Have to wait for reports from others. I guess between 7am and 9am, there were about 20-30 thousand people on the grounds. My newspaper vendor was here at midnight to witness fireworks and said there were less crowd as well. I guess the long weekend holiday provided chance for usual crowd to visit other temples around the country. Reports from Kuala Selangor said crowd was like last year.

This time around, I did not see any politicians nor hear any speeches. We saw Pandithurai walking around. Announcements on the scholarships and money for funeral expensess by Selangor state government were made few times over the PA.

This time, there were kavadis using cheroot, whips, and kumkumams, which was criticised by the management over the PA system.

We left at 9.30am just before the sun started to heat things up 🙂

The management tried some new strategies, and this should be praised (better late than never!).Among the things:

– allocating lane for visitors/tourists

– notice boards in the caves

They have to try via trial-and-error method or even hire proper consultants to do traffic management study. I strongly believe that some way to manage the crowd and hygiene can be found if the temple management put their hearts to it. The boycott last year may have given them a well-deserved kick in the posterior.

As usual, my recommendations:

– ensure entertainment-based stall are relocated to outside temple grounds. I can hear Tamil songs in temple area and its quite distracting.

– get more volunteers. For million visitors (as claimed), there should be around 10000 – 15,000 policemen and volunteers (working in shifts).

– Centralise the mudi kanikai stalls. This time they were scattered in few places.

– provide more notices boards and guides.

– since more and more people are armed with cameras, there’s should be some “viewing galleries” or “shooting spots” so that these folks don’t impede the traffic.


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