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Reinventing Thaipusam

Hindu festival's new gilded chariot divides Malaysian Tamil community

Devotees welcome the maiden voyage of the golden chariot. (Photo by Marco Ferrarese)

PENANG, Malaysia -- The statues of two horse leading Thaipusam's new golden chariot glisten under the sun in George Town, the capital of Penang, ahead of the three-day festival starting on Feb. 9.

M. Ramachandran, executive director of Penang Hindu Endowment Board (Photo by Marco Ferrarese)

"It looked beautiful, a crowning achievement," said M. Ramachandran, executive director of the Penang Hindu Endowment Board, which has organized the annual festival since 1906. Thaipusam is celebrated by millions of Hindu devotees during the full moon in the 10th month of their calendar.

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