GEORGE TOWN: A heavy downpour, unseen in recent years during Thaipusam, delayed the departure of the silver chariot from Kovil Veedu in Penang Street on Wednesday.
The rain, which came pouring down at about 5.20am, pushed the departure of the silver chariot, owned by Nattukotai Chettiar Temple, from 6.30am to 7.20am.
However, some 200m away in Queen Street, the golden chariot left the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple for its maiden journey on scheduled at 5.20am.
The golden chariot belonged to the Penang Hindu Endowment Board, the organisers of the Thaipusam festival.
Twenty devotees pulled the golden chariot after the vel (spear) of Lord Muruga was placed on the altar of the chariot.
After making a brief stop at the end of Queen Street, the golden chariot moved at a faster pace along Chullia Street with thousands of devotees braving the rain and chanting Om Muruga.
The golden chariot moved along Penang Street, where the organisers of the silver chariot were still waiting for the rain to stop in order to start the procession.
Along the way, thousands of devotees lined the streets, with many arriving early in the morning from as far as Ipoh, Perak to watch the maiden journey of the golden chariot.
A short fireworks display before the departure of the silver chariot caught everyone by surprise.
Nattukotai Chettiar Temple managing trustee M. Renganathan said the temple committee did not organise the fireworks which could have been set off by the devotees.
He said the procession of the silver chariot was delayed due to the downpour.
George Town OCPD Asst Comm Mior Faridalathrash Wahid was on hand to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and the departure of the chariots.