TAIPEI, Taiwan — A website featuring a tracking service has been launched to help local followers of Matsu enjoy virtual participation in the goddess of the sea’s upcoming annual tour around central Taiwan, the country’s largest telecom operator said Thursday.
The tour features thousands of followers who accompany a statue of Matsu borne on a palanquin on a journey around many towns and villages in central Taiwan.
The palanquin itself has been equipped with a global positioning system (GPS) device, so that the website (http: //showtaiwan.hinet.net/chmazu2010) can show the real-time location of the statue throughout the tour, Chunghwa Telecom Co. said in a statement.
The goddess will visit 11 Matsu temples in Changhua County from Oct. 2-9.
It is the second time the telecom carrier has provided the service; it provided GPS tracking for a pilgrimage by another major Matsu temple, the Dajia Jenn Lann Temple, in the central county of Taichung, in April.
The April tour attracted a record 1.2 million people on the nine -day tour, but only 60,000 website visits. The upcoming pilgrimage is expected to attract just 40,000 web hits, as the October tour is smaller than the earlier one, according to the company.
For older Matsu followers who are not heavy Internet users, Chunghwa Telecom will also provide a phone service to keep them updated on the proceedings, the statement said.