MARANM, MALAYSIA, March 19, 2020 (NST): The annual Panguni Uthiram festival at the prominent Sri Marathandavar Aalayam temple in Sungai Jerik near here, next month, has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak. District police chief Deputy Superintendent Norzamri Abd Rahman said a meeting was held with the temple committee on Wednesday to inform them to cancel the festival scheduled to take place between April 6 and 7.
The 129-year old temple which is surrounded by an oil palm plantation attracts some 450,000 Hindu devotees including tourists annually for its Panguni Uthiram festival, which is also dubbed as a mini-Thaipusam and which is usually held between March and April every year. The festival which marks Panguni Uthiram – the last month of the Tamil calendar, will also see devotees walking 126 miles from Batu Caves, Selangor to attend the two-day festival at the octagon-shaped temple. “This is a religious festival and we cannot postpone it to another date. The priest will conduct the pooja (prayer) as scheduled during the prayers but no crowd is allowed,” he said.