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Celebrate with us

Known for its culture and many festivals, India is a land of celebrations. Little India therefore is no different, with festivals that mark an entire year's calendar. With unmatched religious fervour, Little India worships its Gods and Goddesses with as much religious sanctity as their forefathers did.
With its festivities, singing and dancing, and so much more, Little India transforms itself into a mystical destination concentrated with the grandeur of Indian festivals.

Navarathri

The most auspicious event for the temple is the Navratri festival (The Nine Night Festival). The festival begins with the lion flag raising ceremony and ends with a procession where the panchaloka deity of Mahamariamman is paraded in a decorated wooden chariot through the streets of Little India. (Navarathri is nine nights vegetarian festival). According to the Hindu Puranas (holy books), the festival is held to commemorate the victory of Goddess Parasakthi over the demon king Mahishasuran. It was stated that the evil king ill-treated the people that they turned to the goddess, who is the consort of Lord Shiva, to save them. Goddess Parasakthi fought a battle for nine days and ultimately destroyed him on the 10th day, which is known as Vijayadashami. Various Indian organisations and communities would sponsor the prayers for each nights. On the Final tenth day of the celebration, Vijayadashami is celebrated by Hindu Mahajana Sangam. The sangam organised the chariot procession for many years from Queen Street, Sri Mahamariamman Temple to Dhoby Ghaut in Air Itam. The festival celebration is concluded after shooting of arrows from the chariot in the evening in the Dhoby Ghaut. The chariot returns to the temple at about midnight the same day. Since the late 1970s, the organisation of the chariot procession had been taken over from the sangam by the Temple committee and the Hindu Endowments Board. The chariot procession is now confined to fort Cornwallis area in the Esplanade. However, the sangam still continues to celebrate the annual Navarathiri festival’s final tenth day Vijayadashami Ubayam every year without fail.

Chithra Pournami (Chitraparuvam)

The Hindu Mahajana Sangam, with notable among the festivals, the annual Chitraparuvam Festival which is celebrated in the Tamil month of Chithirai (April/May) every year, is organised with a chariot procession of the panchaloka deity of Lord Subramaniyaswami from Queen Street Sri Mahamariamman Temple. It is the day of the first full moon of the first Tamil month. In early years, the festival starts with special pooja and ubayam for the Hindu Mahajana Sangam “Koota Kadai” in Queen Street Mahamariamman Temple, the chariot procession commences in the early morning 7.00 am and reached Waterfall Dewan Mahatma Gandhi (Gandhiji Ashram) in the afternoon, the deity then carried and placed in the ashram until the return journey of the chariot to Queen Street Sri Mahamariamman temple in the evening of the same day. Since early 1970s this festival is celebrated for three days. The deity of Lord Subramaiyaswami is brought in procession from the Queen Street Sri Mahamariamman temple passing through many street and roads before reaching the Waterfall Arulmigu Sri Ganesha temple. The deity is carried up to the Hilltop Arulmigu Sri Balathadayuthapani Temple. On the second day is the Chitraparuvam Festival where the deity is taken in procession around the hilltop temple compound in the evening. On the third day evening, the deity is carried down and placed on the chariot procession journey back to the Queen Street Sri Mahamariamman temple. In 1990, the Hindu Mahajana Sangam imported a new chariot from India, for the annual Chitraparuvam Festival celebration to replace the old chariot which was found to be not road worthy and in a decaying condition. On the first day, the chariot passes through Queen Street, Chulia Street, Chulia Street Ghaut, Victoria Street, Prangin Road Ghaut, C. Y. Choy Road, Magazine Road, Dato Keramat Road, Western Road and Waterfall Road before reaching the Ganesar Temple. The chariot stops at Kamatchi Amman Temple, Sivan Temple and Muneeswarar Temple along the way. Then the Lord Subramaniyaswami is carried up to the Sri Balathandayuthapani Temple at the hilltop. On the return journey, the Lord Subramaniyaswami is carried down and the chariot passes through Waterfall Road, Gottlieb Road, Tunku Abdul Rahman Road, Macalister Road, Anson Road, Burma Road, Transfer Road, Sri Bahari Road, Penang Road, Kimberley Street, Carnarvon Street, Chulia Street, Pitt Street, Church Street, Queen Street, China Street, King Street, Light Street, Penang Street, Chulia Street, King Street, China Street, Beach Street, Mrket Street and Queen Street before reaching the Sri Mahamariamman Temple. The chariot stops at Balathandayuthapani Temple, Meenatchi Sundaraeswarar Temple, ISKCON Centre, Muneeswarar Temple and Kunj Bihari Temple along the way.

Thaipusam

Celebrated on the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). Although it is celebrated in the Waterfall Arulmigu Sri Balathandayuthapani Hilltop temple, Sri Mahamriamman temple is not left behind as there are religious activities associated with this festival. The Hindu Mahajana Sangam members carry a traditional kavadi weighing approximately 80 kilos known as Atta Kavadi since 1926 from Queen Street Sri Mahamariamman temple in the evening to Dewan Mahatma Gandhi in the Thannirmalai Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple compound with traditional Nadhaswaram accompanying the Atta Kavadi. A late night dinner is served in the Dewan Mahatma Gandhi after the arrival of the Atta Kavadi. In the early years the arrival of the Atta Kavadi signifies the conclusion of the annual Thaipusam festival celebration for the day and devotees are not expected to carry any kavadi after the Atta Kavadi reaches the Waterfall temple compound. The Penang Nattukottai Chettiar community hold prayers in this temple prior to the Thaipusam festival. This function is called the Kuthirai Vahanam (Horse Car) held on in the Tamil month of Markazhi (December/January). The prayers would start 10 days earlier where there would be ubayams on these days. On the tenth day, the decorated panchaloka deity of the Mahamariamman which carries a Vel would be placed on the Horse Car. The procession begins from Queen Street at the evening, displaying the Vel passing through various streets and roads and end up at Queen Street Sri Mahamariamman temple around mid-night.
 

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Little India Penang is located in Georgetown, the capital of Penang. It is in the centre of Penang Heritage zone. It covers the area around 3 streets. They are Lebuh Chulia, Lebuh Queen and Jalan Pasar.
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