Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in Malaysia
Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Penang, Malaysia
It is also known as Mariamman Temple or Queen Street Indian Temple. Throughout the years, the Sri Mahamariamman temple has also been known by several names: Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple, Sri Arulmigu Mahamariamman Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple. All these names refer to the same temple. The temple is open daily from 6.30 am - 12.00 noon and 4.30 pm - 9.00 pm. It became a place of worship as early as 1801 and became a temple on 1833. It has stood at the same place for more than 200 years.
Temple siteThe temple is in central Georgetown on Lebuh Queen (Queen Street) and the back entrance is on Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling (Pitt Street), in between Lebuh Pasar and Lebuh Chulia. Located in Penang’s Little India, in the capital city of Georgetown, the Sri Maha Mariamman temple reflects the city’s rich cultural heritage.
Visitation to this temple is limited to morning and evening. Temple opens starts from morning 6 am till 12 pm and evening from 5 pm till 9 pm. The temples closes after the prayers are performed at 12 pm and 9 pm respectively. Daily there will be Pujas (prayers), mornings 7.30 am and evening 6.30 pm. Prayers are usually conducted by the temple priests in these times and visitors may observe these prayer sessions taking place. If you wish to enter the Sri Mahamariamman temple, it would be polite to ask permission from any of the priests and please remember to remove your shoes before entering the temple grounds.
Dating back as early as 1801, the Sri Mahamariamman Temple is recognised as an elaborate and spiritual place of worship. Like most Indian temples in Penang, the Penang Sri Mahamariamman began as a small and simple shrine. Not much is known about the early days of the temple or of the persons who founded it. The land was granted in 1801 by the British to Betty Lingam Chetty, who was then the Kapitan (Headman, Kepala or Community Leader) of the Tamils and South Indians. This is confirmed by another grant written in 1831. But, as to how the temple came to be built on this land or who founded it, there is no information.
Caption James Low confirms the existence of a temple in Georgetown in 1835. The fact that the Mariamman temple was founded in 1833 is first mentioned in a notice of 'Kumbabishegam' (consecration ceremony) held one hundred years later in 1933. But except for the date, not much else has been said about its founding in that document.
Built originally as a shrine, it was later that the Indian community found a need for a proper temple ground for worshipping. This was to accommodate the ever increasing Indian community presence on the island. This was done to ensure that the Indian community, which includes the merchants, labourers and sepoys are settled in one particular area, for ease of managing the group. The majority of the people who lived around the temple were waterfront workers who were the backbone of the Penang port. These Indian stevedores were organised in groups called kootam - a member of a kootam is a kootakadai, and heading each kootam is a thandal. Together, the Indian community numbered about 2000 workers and they inhabited the area bounded by Lebuh Queen, Lebuh King, Lebuh Penang, Lebuh Pasar and Lebuh Gereja, an area collectively known as Ellammuchanthi in Tamil, or Simpang Lelong in Malay.
The Sri Mahamariamman shrine was enlarged into a temple in 1833. Incidentally, since this was when it became a proper temple, the year 1833 is taken as the year that it was founded. At the time of its founding, it was known as the Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple. It was only in 1980 that it became known by its present name, Sri Arulmigu Mahamariamman Temple although the name is often written as Sri Mariamman Temple, Mahamariamman Temple and so on.
From its inception, the temple provided an important place of worship for early Indian immigrants and is now an important cultural and national heritage. In those days, it was done to ensure the Indian community, which includes the early working settlers like merchants and laborers are settled in one area to ease managing them. By 1833, the shrine through the efforts of the Indian settlers, turned to a temple and was renovated to its present form a hundred years later.
According to a document of civil suit brought before the courts in 1904, the names of five trustees who looked after the temple from 1892 till 1904 are Veerasamy, Murugan Chettiyar, Govindasamy Pillai, Veleritta Taver and Meyappah. The temple came under The Mohamedan and Hindu Endowments Board in 1906. From then onwards this temple has been administrated by the management committee appointed by the Endowment Board. It appears that from the beginning of the Endowments Board's administration, a few temples and other institutions have been clustered and left under the care of this management committee. They were Arulmigu Sri Balathandayuthapani Temple in Waterfall (Hilltop), the Arulmigu Sri Ganesha Temple in Waterfall, the Arulmigu Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Queen Street, Hindu Cemetery and Cremation Ground in Batu Lanchang and a Hindu Funeral Rites Ground in Jalan Air Itam. From 1967 onwards, the board is known as the Hindu Endowments Board, which is currently managing this temple.
The Hindu Mahajana Sangam, which was formed in 1935, has had close association with this temple and other temples under the care of the same management. many members have served in both institutions. They have also been associated with the temple's formation, renovation and maintenance.
1st Kumbabishegam (1933)It was only in 1933 that this temple acquired the present form and structure. In that year the temple was extensively renovated and consecration ceremony was held in 12 June 1933. According to the notice of the consecration ceremony, the foundation stone for the new structure was laid by Mr. V. Natesam Pillay, J.P. The Sri Muthu Mariamman temple having become too small and too decayed, the Hindu gentlemen of Penang, with their initiative and preserverence, have bought up two buildings to the north of the temple, expanded the presence space and formed a temple in accordance with the Siva agamas a sanctum, Arthamandapam (antechamber), Mahamandapam (hall), prakaram(circumambient), vimanam (dome), surrounding walls and Rajagopuram (entrance tower). These renovations were carried out by a management committee consisting of S. Ekamparam Pillai, C. Subbaraya Pillay, S. P. Natesam Pillay, P. Kalimuthu Vandayar, K. V. Karuppiah Thandal and M. R. Raju.
2nd Kumbabishegam (1958)It is also known that further repairs were done in 1958 and a consecration ceremony, albeit on a small scale was carried out under the leadership of Mr. Duraisamy Thevar.
3rd Kumbabishegam (1980)Since 1958 no repairs or renovations were done to the temple. This caused some serious decay to the structures and sculptures. In 1978 till 1980 extensive renovation was done. A sculptor from the Academy of Sculptors in Mahapalipuram, Chennai and two assistant sculptors were brought from India to restore the structure. Although the basic form of the 1933 structure had been retained, many new areas have been added. A new hall 31 feet x 27 feet, suitable for small religious functions has been added. over this, another story has been added for administrative offices.
While most of the sculptures have been preserved, some new ones have also been added. the statues of the nine forms of Sakthi now surround the outerwalls of the sanctum. The inner walls of the sanctum, antechamber and the floring of the whole temple have been changed. the entire temple has been repainted. The smaller shrines of Visvanathar, Visalatchi, Chandikeswarar and Bairavar have domes of their own which have been gold plated. Within the sanctum, a new statue of Mahamariamman, towering over the main deity, has been formed. At the feet of the main deity, a Sri Chakram has also been erected.
The temple's name which was known as Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple till then was changed to Arulmigu Sri Mahamariamman Temple.
4th Kumbabishegam (1998)The present renovation was begun in mid 1997. While basically preserving the existing temple structure, some minor modifications were made such as replacing of tiles in the sanctum and the whole temple flooring, replacing the peedam in the sanctum, replacing the Komugi, a new Ganesha, Visvanathar, Rahu and Kethu icons, new Navagraha peedam, new flag post with concrete base, statues of Bala Ganesha and Bala Murugan, Ashta Lakshmi 8 statues and 2 lion statues on the left and right of the temple main entrance.
On the entrance of Penang Sri Mariamman Temple, you get to see a 23.5 feet tall sculptured tower or Gopuram. Also the 38 statues of Gods and Goddesses and 4 swans featuring the Hindu Goddess Mahamariamman in Her many incarnations such as Meenatchi, Kamatchi, Visalatchi, Bhuvaneswari surrounds the colorful four-tiered crown. It is topped with five small kalasams.
With subsequent renovations carried out over the years by Hindus artisans and sculptors from India and locals, from makeshift huts to heavily ornate and brightly shining with diamonds and precious stones, Penang Sri Mahariamman Temple is a sight to behold. The signs of the zodiac are carved in wood on the ceiling.
The interiors of the temples are heavily sculptured with deities of Lord Ganesha is in the left pillar and Lord Muruga, his brother, is on the right pillar. The eight female figures adorning the pillars inside the temple are of Ashta Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth). On the left wall there are sculpture of the Nadaraja and Sivakami in dancing posture of the cosmic dance. Many statues of deities, gods and goddesses can be seen on the walls surrounding the inner shrine of Penang Sri Mahamariamman Temple.
The dome or vimanam of the temple is on a base 12.5 feet square and has a height of 27.25 feet. This is in three sections and contains 20 statues of gods and goddesses and 12 lions. Its kalasam is 3.5 feet and is gold plated.
The back entrance tower is 10.5 feet high and contains 13 statues of gods and goddesses and 4 lions and a swan with partially human form.
Housed within its ornately decorated interior is the priceless panchaloka (an alloy of five metals: gold, silver, copper, zinc and tin) statue of Goddess Mahamariamman and Lord Subramaniaswamy embellished with gold, silver, diamonds and emeralds.
The priceless Goddess Mahamariamman's statue is paraded on a wooden chariot during the Vijayadashami day on the end of the Navarathiri festival.
The priceless Lord Subramaniaswamy's statue figures prominently in the annual Chithra Pournami festival when it is borne on a wooden chariot through the city streets to the Arulmigu Sri Balathandayuthapani Hilltop temple in Waterfall, Penang.
Once every 12 years, in keeping with Hindu tradition, the temple is reconsecrated. Previous consecrations are in 1933, 1958, 1980 and 1998.
The DeityMariamman is popularly worshipped by overseas Indians, especially Tamils because she is looked upon as their protector. She is the Goddess of disease, rain and protection and is associated with enormous powers in the physical realm, particularly destructive, and protects her devotees from unholy or demonic events.
Historians claimed that the worship of Mariamman started as a tribal religion of the Dravidians. Mariamman is a manifestation of the goddess - Parvati, an incarnation embodying Mother Earth with all her terrifying force.
In the Hindu pantheon, however, the original mother form of the Maha Sakthi is the Primal Source of All Energy - from where everything - all matter and energy comes. The Sakthi is credited with the creation of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, the three main gods of creation, sustenance and destruction.
The word Mariamman come from two words: "Mari" meaning "power" and "amman" meaning "mother". Maha stands for great. So this Mahamariamman temple tells you, it houses the great powerful mother. And some Indians considers Sri Mariamman to be the mother of Lord Ganesha and Lord Muruga. So to many locals, when asks which temple they are going, some simply said "Amman Temple".
Mahamariamman, the primary deity is seated at the moolastanam (sanctum) of the karuvarai (sanctum sanctorum) facing east. Ganesha and Subramaniyaswami are installed at the artha mandapam (antechamber) facing east. There is a surrounding circumambulatory path. At the mukha mandapam we may find the vahana (vehicle) of the Goddess which is lion, the bali peedam (sacrificial altar) and the kodi maram (flag post) is also found facing west towards Mahamariamman. Stone carvings of the cosmic dance of Lord Nadaraja and His consort Goddess Sivakami are found at the wall facing south at the vasantha mandapam (festive hall).
Shrines for sub deities facing east are Lord Visvanathar and Goddess Visalatchi are installed at the left and right side of the sanctum sanctorum respectively. The shrine of Lord Chandikeswarar is facing south towards the sanctum sanctorum. The shrine of Lord Bairavar is found at the north east corner facing south. Lord Thatchinamoorthy facing south and Vishnu Durga facing north are installed at the outer wall of the sanctum sanctorum. The Navagraham (nine planets) are found at the north east corner of the temple.
Also, there are panchaloka (an alloy of five metals: gold, silver, copper, zinc and tin) icons of Ganesha, Subramaniyaswami and Mahamariamman.
FestivalsThe temple is particularly packed on Navarathiri, Chithra Pournami, Deepavali and Thaipusam with thousands of devotees eager to offer their prayers on the holy days.
In the year 2008, there was a big celebration commemorating the temple's 175th anniversary.
NavarathriThe most auspicious event for the temple is the Navarathri 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 organizations 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 organized 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 organization 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)
Since early 1970s this festival is celebrated for three days. The deity of Lord Subramaiyaswami brought 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. The second day would be the Chitraparuvam Festival where the deity would be taken procession around the hilltop temple compound in the evening. On the third day evening, the deity would be 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.
ThaipusamCelebrated 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 Waterfall 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.
Maha SivarathriThe Maha Shivaratri is dedicated to the Lord Visvanathar where the devotees would observe the prayers, all day fasting and an all night long vigil. Celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha (waning moon) of the Tamil month of Maasi (February/March) that is, the night before and day of the new moon. Abishegam (ceremonial bath) is conducted at 10 pm, 12 midnight, 2 am and 4 am respectively. Pujas would commence at 11 pm, 1 am, 3 am and 5 am respectively. Throughout the night devotes would chant and hyms of the devotional songs.
PournamiMonthly full moon of every month is observed where prayers are done for Lord Visvanathar. Special abishegam, prayers and puja would be conducted at 12 pm followed by vegetarian lunch that would be served.
Durga PujaWeekly Rahu kala puja is conducted on every Tuesdays between 3.30 pm and 4.30 pm for Vishnu Dhurga amman. Abishekam (ceremonial bath) is conducted by the temple priest for the goddess. Devotees which mainly consists of ladies, would sing hymns and chant praise of the goddess. The goddess would be decorated with flowers and mainly with garlands of limes. Lighting lamps made of limes is a major ritual in this prayers.
On this special days, devotees will be vegetarians for the day. Young ladies wanting to marry will come to offer prayers asking from the "mother" for a good husband. Married ladies will pray for a successful marriage.
Aadi PujaThe Tamil month of Aadi (July/August) is considered an auspicious one for prayers for Amman. Sangabishegam (conch ceremonial bath) is done in the evenings on every Friday for Mahamariamman and every Tuesday for Vishnu Durga.
Aaadi Pooram is also celebrated. Ladies would carry pots containing turmeric powder diluted with water as an offering for the abishegam of Mahamariamman.
Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
From its inception, the temple provided an important place of worship for early Indian immigrants and is now an important cultural and national heritage
HistoryThe Sri Mahamariamman Temple was founded by K. Thamboosamy Pillai in 1873 and was initially used as a private shrine by the Pillai family. The family threw the temple doors open to the public in the late 1920s and eventually handed the management of the temple over to a board of trustees.
This is the oldest functioning Hindu temple in Malaysia. It is also reputed to be the richest in the country. The temple was originally sited somewhere near the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station. It shifted to its present location along Jalan Tun H.S. Lee (next to KL's Chinatown) in 1885.
The initial attap structure was demolished in 1887 and a brick building was erected in its place. That structure was demolished to make way for the current temple building which were completed in 1968. The impressive gateway to the temple, known as the gopuram, was completed in 1972. The new temple was consecrated in 1973.
GopuramBuilt in the south Indian style, the temple's most outstanding feature is the impressiven 5-tiered gopuram (tower). It is the tallest structure in the temple. The dramatic 22.9m (75ft) high pyramid-shaped gate tower is decorated with depictions of Hindu gods sculpted by artisans from southern India. The chief sculptor was the late S. T. Muniappa from Tamil Nadu and is credited for creating the 228 idols on the gopuram.
Main Prayer Hall
At the rear is the garbagraham or sanctum sanctorum, which corresponds to the head. It is a freestanding structure with its own roof and walls and has one entrance that faces east. This is the inner sanctum where the chief deity Sri Maha Mariamman is located. The priest stands in front of the garbagraham when performing the puja (prayers).
Within the temple is a main prayer hall with richly decorated ceilings. The location of three shrines in the main temple is marked by an ornately embellished onion dome which can be seen from outside. There is also four smaller shrines located peripherally around the main temple building
Lord Ganesha is in the shrine on the left and Lord Muruga, his brother, is on the right. Ganesh is also found at the entrance as he is the remover of obstacles. The eight female figures adorning the pillars inside the temple are of Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth).
Once every 12 years, in keeping with Hindu tradition, the temple is reconsecrated.
Silver ChariotA silver chariot is housed within the premises. This chariot is a prominent feature during the annual Thaipusam festival. It used during this occasion for transporting the statuettes of Lord Muruga and his consorts (Valli and Teivayanni) through the city streets to Batu Caves. It made its debut in 1893 and was built at a cost of RM350,000 using 350 kilograms of silver.
The chariot was made in India and shipped here in 12 parts to be assembled. It is 6.5 metres tall and has 240 bells and a pair of horses on it. Before the silver chariot, a wooden one was used which was made 1930 by Indian craftsmen at a cost of RM50,000.
Bangunan MariammanRecently, the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam has, after a 40-year wait, finally got its own building. The RM 13 million six-storey building, behind the temple in Jalan Tun H.S Lee was officially opened by Works Minister and MIC President Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.
Temple chairman R. Nadarajah said the idea to construct the building was mooted by Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu 38 years ago when he was a committee member of the temple. Known as Bangunan Mariamman, the building is beside the Klang Bus Station and opposite the Putra LRT station. It is connected to the temple and has two floors of basement car parks, three floors for two auditoriums and a hall.
The DeityMariamman is popularly worshipped by overseas Indians, especially Tamils because she is looked upon as their protector during their sojourn to foreign lands. Mariamman is a manifestation of the goddess - Parvati, an incarnation embodying Mother Earth with all her terrifying force. She is associated with disease and fever and protects her devotees from unholy or demonic events.
AdministrationThe Sri Mahamariamman Temple is managed by the Board of Management of Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Devasthanam, which also manages the Batu Caves Sri Subramaniam Temple and the Kortumalai Pillaiyar Temple. It also performs the role of Hindu Religious Consultant to the Government of Malaysia in determining the Hindu yearly calendar.
FestivalsThe temple is particularly packed on Deepavali with devotees eager to offer their prayers on the holy day.
Also on the holy day of Thaipusam, thousands of devotees throng the temple at the wee hours of the morning to start a long procession leading up to Batu Caves as a religious undertaking to Lord Muruga. They carry containers containing milk as offering to Lord Muruga either by hand or in huge decorated carriers on their shoulders called 'kavadi'.
Arulmigu Karumariamman Temple, Malaysia
The Arulmigu Karumariamman Temple, as with many Hindu temples in Malaysia, had its humble origin over a hundred years ago as an estate temple catering to the needs of the estate workers living in the Paduma Estate in Perai. The area where the estate was located was turned into the new township of Seberang Jaya in the 1970s, resulting in the removal of two temples located in the area. Nevertheless, in response to the urging of the residents, the Penang State Government granted a piece of land for the building of a new Hindu temple.
Work on the new temple began in 1996. Dato Seri S. Samy Velu, the Minister of Works, laid the foundation stone of the temple on 16 February 1997. The temple was completed at the cost of RM2.3 million, and dedicated to the Hindu deity Arulmigu Karumariamman, a mother deity among the rural South Indians.
Arulmigu Maha Muthu Mariamman Thevasthanam, Malaysia
Arulmigu Maha Muthu Mariamman Thevasthanam is a Hindu temple located in Kopisan Baru, Gopeng in the state of Perak, Malaysia.
HistoryThe original temple was built in 1962 and it was known as Kaliamman Kovil. It was built on a land of 57,860 square feet (5,375 m2) which was donated by Gopeng Berhad.
In 1964, renovations were made to place Goddess Mariamman as the principal deity. This renovation works were led by Mr Suppaiyah and assisted by Mr Dorai, Mr Periasamy, Mr Marugamuthu, Mr Nallapiravi and Mr Sangkaran. The contractor was Mr Arjunan. On 22 September 1967, the temple was registered as Sri Muthumariaman Kovil.
In year 2000, the temple land was gazetted but unfortunately the temple land area was reduced to 30,797 square feet (2,861.1 m2). The Goddess Kaliamman and the left hall had to be relocated due to the reduction of the temple land size. The temple committee considered a proposal to relocate the Goddess Kaliamman and the hall in the existing temple building. However, the committee found that the proposal was not suitable due to lack of space in the existing temple building. Therefore, the temple committee came up with a plan to build a new building to replace the existing temple.
The ground breaking ceremony for the new temple was held on the 10 December 2006 and construction work commenced soon after. On 4 May 2009, the temple was renamed as Arulmigu Maha Mariamman Thevasthanam. The construction works of this temple has been completed and the Kumbabishekam ceremony was successfully conducted on 12 December 2010.
Mystical Stories Related to this TempleStory 1
A group of eagles was seen circling nearby this temple during the height of the Kumbabishega ceremony. It is believed that the eagles represents Garuda - the vehicle of Vishnu. It is believed that the presence of Garuda indicates that lord Vishnu has blessed the occasion
Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple, Malaysia
The Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple is a major Hindu temple as well as one of the oldest temples in Tebrau, Johor Bahru, Malaysia. It is also one of the state's tourist attraction. The temple was listed in the Malaysian Book of Records as the first and only glass temple in the nation on May 12, 2010
HistoryThe temple, one of Johor Bahru’s oldest Hindu temples, is situated next to the railway tracks between Jalan Tun Abdul Razak and Jalan Mohd Taib (or close to the Tebrau Highway). It started in 1922 as a simple shelter on land presented by the Sultan of Johor.
In 1991, Sri Sinnathamby Sivasamy, current temple chairman and chief priest, also known as Guru Bhagawan Sittar inherited the administration of the temple from his father. He is the inspiration and driving force behind the temple. The Guru made a commitment to rebuild the temple upon inheriting it from the humble hut it once was. In spite of difficulties and challenges, the temple was rebuilt and officially reopened in 1996.
Rebuilding in glassThe Guru had the inspiration to rebuild the temple in glass during one of his trips to Bangkok. He was in a tuk-tuk (auto-rickshaw) in Bangkok when he saw a light shining like a diamond, some 2 km away. The driver told him that it was a wat (temple). When he went there, he found that it was the glass artwork at the temple entrance that had caught his eyes.
He was amazed that a small glass artwork could capture his attention from a vast distance. This inspired him to use this technique in the Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Temple. He believed a temple fully embellished with impressive glass artwork will attract local devotees and visitors from the world over.
Transformation of the temple with glass fittings started in 2008 and was completed in October 2009. Since then, it has become one of the state's major tourist attractions.
ArchitectureLight from crystal chandeliers is reflected on doors, pillars, walls and ceilings in a bright blaze that’s quite blinding initially. At least 90 per cent of the temple is embellished by a mosaic of 300,000 pieces of red, blue, yellow, green, purple and white glass.
The centrepiece in the Athma Lingam sanctuary is a lotus for Lord Shiva, on which devotees can pour rose water and perform their prayers. Guru says this special sanctuary is the first in Malaysia to be designed with walls that are fully covered with 300,000 mukni Rudraksha beads from Nepal.
At a glance, the walls appear to have an unusual embossed texture. Each Rudraksha bead is embedded in the walls with a chanted prayer.
The fully air-conditioned temple has a café that serves vegetarian meals for special events, and a function hall in an adjoining building.
SculpturesThere are 10 gold-finished sculptures close to the ceiling. Of the two figures on the left, one appears to be lying down and the other crawling, while the one on the far right seems to be reclining too. These sculptures portray the cycle of life, from birth, youth, adulthood, to old age and death.
There are 10 white marble statues standing 120 cm tall each. According to the name plaques, these are Gautama Buddha, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Sai Baba and Mother Teresa. The Guru believes that these are messengers of God, and visitors of other faiths will be happy to see them here.
MuralsOn the left wing, there are two large panels on the ceiling painted by specially commissioned artists to convey a universal message of social and racial harmony.
In one picture, a cow is next to an Indian girl, a dog is near a Chinese girl while a Malay girl holds a cat in her arms.
The other picture has an Hindu motorcyclist being helped up by a Muslim after he fell off his bike, while a Buddhist is picking up his helmet and a Christian is lifting up the motorcycle.
Location and Opening HoursThe temple, located in 22 Lorong 1, Jalan Tebrau, Johor Baru, is accessible through Jalan Tun Abdul Razak and the lane that borders Gim Shew Building. Car and coach parking is available and there’s also a shoe storage service.
It is open for devotees from 7am to 10pm daily, while visiting hours for tourists are between 1pm and 5pm
Batu Caves, Malayasia
The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is the focal point of Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia.
As early as 1860, Chinese settlers began excavating guano for fertilising their vegetable patches. However, they became famous only after the limestone hills were recorded by colonial authorities including Daly and Syers as well as American Naturalist, William Hornaday in 1878.
Batu Caves was promoted as a place of worship by K. Thamboosamy Pillai, an Indian trader. He was inspired by the 'vel'-shaped entrance of the main cave and was inspired to dedicate a temple to Lord Murugan within the caves. In 1890, Pillai, who also founded the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur, installed the murti (consecrated statue) of Sri Subramania Swamy in what is today known as the Temple Cave. Since 1892, the Thaipusam festival in the Tamil month of Thai (which falls in late January/early February) has been celebrated there.
Wooden steps up to the Temple Cave were built in 1920 and have since been replaced by 272 concrete steps. Of the various cave temples that comprise the site, the largest and best known is the Temple or Cathedral Cave, so named because it houses several Hindu shrines beneath its high vaulted ceiling.
At the base of the hill are two more cave temples, Art Gallery Cave and Museum Cave, both of which are full of Hindu statues and paintings. This complex was renovated and opened as the Cave Villa in 2008. Many of the shrines relate the story of Lord Murugan's victory over the demon Soorapadam. An audio tour is available to visitors.
The Ramayana Cave is situated to the extreme left as one faces the sheer wall of the hill. On the way to the Ramayana Cave, there is a 50-foot (15 m) tall statue of Hanuman and a temple dedicated to Hanuman, the noble monkey devotee and aide of Lord Rama. The consecration ceremony of the temple was held in November 2001.
The Ramayana Cave depicts the story of Rama in a chronicle manner along the irregular walls of the cave.
A 42.7-metre (140 ft) high statue of Lord Murugan was unveiled in January 2006, having taken 3 years to construct. It is the tallest Lord Murugan statue in the world.
AdministrationBatu Malai Sri Subramaniar Temple is managed by the Board of Management of Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Devasthanam, which also manages the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur and the Kortumalai Pillaiyar Temple. It also performs the role of Hindu Religious Consultant to the Government of Malaysia in determining the Hindu yearly calendar.
Icons carried in procession during Thaipusam at Batu Caves. Also seen in the background is the 42.7 m high golden statue of Lord Murugan.Batu Caves serves as the focus of the Hindu community's yearly Thaipusam (Tamil: தைபூசம்) festival. It has become a pilgrimage site for not only Malaysian Hindus, but Hindus worldwide from countries such as India, Australia and Singapore.
A procession begins in the wee hours of the morning on Thaipusam from the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur leading up to Batu Caves as a religious undertaking to Lord Muruga lasting eight hours. Devotees carry containers containing milk as offering to Lord Murugan either by hand or in huge decorated carriers on their shoulders called 'kavadi'.
The kavadi may be simple wooden arched semi-circular supports holding a carrier foisted with brass or clay pots of milk or huge, heavy ones which may rise up to two metres, built of bowed metal frames which hold long skewers, the sharpened end of which pierce the skin of the bearers torso. The kavadi is decorated with flowers and peacock feathers imported from India. Some kavadi may weigh as much as a hundred kilograms.
After bathing in the nearby Sungei Batu (Rocky River), the devotees make their way to the Temple Cave and climb the flights of stairs to the temple in the cave. Devotees use the wider centre staircase while worshippers and onlookers throng up and down those balustrades on either side.
When the kavadi bearer arrives at the foot of the 272-step stairway leading up to the Temple Cave, the devotee has to make the arduous climb.
Priests attend to the kavadi bearers. Consecrated ash is sprinkled over the hooks and skewers piercing the devotees' flesh before they are removed. No blood is shed during the piercing and removal
In 2007, the festival attracted more than 1.5 million pilgrims, making it one of the largest gatherings in history.
DevelopmentHousing development began since 1970 with housing estates such as Taman Batu Caves, Taman Selayang, Taman Amaniah, Taman Sri Selayang, and Taman Medan Batu Caves.
In the last decade, the surrounding area has changed from a small village to industrial estates and new housing and shops. There is also an elevated flyover over the highway. A new 515-million-ringgit KTM Komuter rail extension from Sentul to Batu Caves began operations in July 2010, serving the rebuilt Batu Caves Komuter station.
On 1 January 2011, during the Thaipusam festival, it was announced that a cable car would be built for the following year's festival. It would cost around 10 million ringgit.
TransportationBatu Caves is easily reached by Komuter train using the Batu Caves-Port Klang Route, costing RM 2 for a one-way journey from KL Sentral. Batu Caves may also be reached by bus 11/11d from Bangkok Bank Terminus (Near to Puduraya Terminus) or bus U6 from Titiwangsa.
Jalan Baru Sri Muniswarar Temple, Malaysia
Jalan Baru Sri Muniswarar Temple is a Hindu temple in Jalan Baru, Prai, Penang.Jalan Baru Sri Muniswarar Temple is a temple dedicated to Tamil Hindu god, Muniswarar. This temple was one of the most famous temple in Malaysia.[ Today, Shree Muniswarar Temple is most famous for blessing newly purchased cars. It attracts a constant stream of car owners, including many Chinese and non Hindus, to have their cars blessed by the temple priest.
The deities at the Main Altar are Lord Sri Muniswarar (an avatar of Lord Shiva) Sri Ganesha and Lord Muruga. In front of the Main Altar stands Lord Madurai Veeran majestically with an “Arwaal” (Sword) in one hand. There two white horses beside him, one on the right and another on the left. There is also a dog (known as Bhairavar). It is believed that he used to roam the areas at night after midnight on his white horse with an “Aravaal” and a cigar in his mouth, a turban on his head and attired like an ancient Indian Prince. Many devotees who are gifted have seen his apparition, and one among them was a Chinese who saw him entering the temple compound on a white horse in full white Indian attire and was astounded by what he saw. After witnessing such an incident, the said Chinese assisted financially to build a small altar on the present site. The devotees whose vows are fulfilled make offerings or poojas according to their means. Some will offer “prasatham”, some offer live cockerel or goats, others sacrifice goats or cockerel and perform “padayal”. The non-vegetarian pooja/padayal is offered to “Lord Madhurai Veeran” who stands majestically in front of the main altar on the fringe of the main temple. Goat and cockerel sacrifices are made from time to time by devotees whose vows were fulfilled ranging from education, health, matrimony, business, childless couples and many other matters. Many business, family and other disputes are solved by taking an oath in front of the deities or by offering or sacrificing a white cockerel. As a result the perpetrators are brought to justice in mysterious ways. We are not over exaggerating the mysterious and invisible divine power that exist in this temple, but only those who have experienced it can vouch for it. That is why this temple is considered as a very powerful and famous temple in Malaysia and the region. Therefore, a new diaspora of praying and paying homage to the protective deities have emerged in Malaysia and Singapore. A book has also been written recently by a Singapore writer highlighting the growing importance of the deities. Those who bring their vehicles to the temple for blessing are given protection from accident and other incidents. Apart from Indians, many Chinese devotees bring their new and old cars to be blessed at the Temple. They also sacrifice goats and cockerel when their vows are fulfilled especially matters related business, health, children education and so forth.
Om Tat Sat
(My humble salutations to the great devotees , wikisources and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )