The Silver Chariot
The 116 years old silver chariot is dedicated to Lord Murugan as His vehicle and
was brought in from Karaikudi in Chettinad South India in 1894 by the Indian Vessel
SS Ronna. Before the present silver chariot, there was a wooden chariot that was
used and which was later donated to the Medan Nagarathar Temple. The silver chariot
is 23’ 9”tall and 10’ 9” long and 7½ feet wide. About ½ ton of iron, 5/8 ton of
silver and 6½ tons of Burmese teak has been used to build the chariot. It has a
wooden base structure with a wooden superstructure on which there is an encasing
layer of silver sheets beaten and formed into place to coat the underlying wooden
The silver chariot is used for the procession of Lord Murugan every year during
Thaipusam from Penang Street temple house to the Waterfall Road Nattukottai Nagarathar
Thandayuthapani Temple and back. The chariot is traditionally drawn by a pair bulls.
The silver chariot was used for over 100 years without any major repairs at all.
The original wheels were used for 99 years! Annually the chariot is polished to
a sheen for use during Thaipusam.
The then 110 year old chariot was refurbished between 9th February 2004 and 8th
July 2004 at a cost of about RM150,000. The chariot originally had about 650 Kg
of silver and some 28 Kg of additional silver was used to complete the refurbishment
job. The major wood work was redone and four additional wheels were built new.
It is related that in 1941 when the silver chariot was near the Sivan Temple on
Dato Kramat Road, the pinnacle of the chariot was damaged by the electric overhead
cables and it was considered an ill omen and the same year the Japanese bombed and
then occupied Penang. During the bombing of Penang, the area around the chariot’s
storage building were damaged but not the chariot or the storage housing.
During the procession, thousands of devotees will follow the chariot during both
legs of the journey. Literally thousands of coconuts are broken during both legs
of the journey of the chariot.