Sri Mariamman Temple
Quick Facts about Sri Mariamman Temple
- Founder of Sri Mariamman Temple: K Thamboosamy Pillai
- Built: 1873
- Primary Deity: Sri Mariamman or the Divine Mother
- Architecture: Dravidian architecture
- Consecration of Temple: Done every 12 years in accordance with Hindu tradition.
- Mariamman is an important goddess for the southern Indians. She provides protection for her worshippers from evil spirits. Mariamman is a manifestation of Parvati in the form of a devoted mother.
Address and Contact of Sri Mariamman Temple
- 163 Jalan Tun HS Lee, 50010 Kuala Lumpur
- Tel: 6 03 2078 3467
- Geo Location: lat. 3.1487 degrees, long. 101.6979 degrees
- Daily 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM
You have to remove your shoes at the main entrance. There is an optional shoe storage charge of RM0.20. I would recommend you use this service. Shoes tend to find new owners when they are left on their own.
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Oldest Hindu Temple in Kuala Lumpur
Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur.
It is situated in the Chinatown area. The temple was built to provide the early southern Indian migrants and traders a place to worship. Today it has become a major tourist attraction and a national heritage to Malaysia.
History of the Sri Mariamman Temple
- 1873 Built near the KL Railway Station for the private use of local Indian millionaire, K Thamboosamy Pillai, and his family.
- 1885 Wooden temple relocated to its present location at Jalan Tun HS Lee, initially called High Street.
- 1887 Temple rebuilt with bricks after the major fire of Kuala Lumpur.
- 1920 Temple was opened to the public.
- 1972 Temple was massively renovated to its present form with an ornately beautiful gopuram or main entrance.
- 1973 Consecration ceremony held for the new temple.
Architecture of the Sri Mariamman Temple
The gopuram or the main entrance to the Hindu temple usually resembles the feet of a person lying on its back.
It is usually the tallest structure of a Hindu temple.
This gopuram measures 23 meters or 75 feet tall. It is a 5-tiered gopuram shaped like a pyramid.
It is decorated with 228 idols of deities.
The gopuram symbolizes the threshold between the spiritual and the material world.
Main Prayer Hall
The temple has an east-west layout. Entrance is through the gopuram at the east and the shrine is located at the back facing west.
The main prayer hall is right in the middle.
Garbagraham or Sanctum Sanctorum
The garbagraham or sanctum sanctorum (a place of inviolable privacy) is located at the rear of the temple and it resembles the head of a human.
This shrine is a detached building with its own roof and walls. The main entrance to the garbagraham faces the gopuram towards the east.
During a puja or prayer, the priest will stand in front of the garbagraham.
The main prayer hall has a richly decorated ceiling. There are 3 shrines located in the main prayer hall. They all have onion shaped domes. There are also 4 other lesser shrines located by the side of the main temple within the Sri Mahamariamman Temple compound.
Lord Ganesha and Murugan
As you enter the temple you will be able to see the Ganesha shrine. Ganesha is the deity with the elephant head. Facing the Ganesha shrine is the shrine of Ganesha's younger brother, Murugan.
You will usually see the shrine or idol of Ganesha in all Hindu temples at the main entrance to the temple. Ganesha is the protector and remover of obstacles for the Hindus.
Goddess Mariamman and Lakshmi
Inside the temple you will see 8 figurines representing Lakshmi or the Goddess of Wealth. Lakshmi is one of the many manifestations of Mariamman.
Silver Chariot of Lord Murugan
Within the temple is the silver chariot of Lord Murugan. This chariot is used to convey the murti or consecrated statue of Lord Murugan from this temple to the Murugan Temple in Batu Caves.
The chariot is made of 350 kg of silver and built at a cost of RM350, 000 in 1983. It stands about 7 meters or 22 feet tall and has 240 bells and a pair of horses attached to it. This silver chariot was built to replace the wooden chariot built in 1930.
The 2 most important festivals celebrated at the temple are the Thaipusam and the Deepavali. Thaipusam is the celebration of the birthday of Lord Murugan and is held either in January or February.
It is marked with the procession of the Silver Chariot of Murugan from this temple to the temple in Batu Caves.
Deepavali is the celebration of light and is usually held around October or November. During these 2 celebrations, the temple is packed with worshippers and visitors.
The temple is particularly packed on Deepavali with devotees eager to offer their prayers on the holy day.
Administration of Sri Mariamman Temple
It is managed by the Board of Management of Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Devasthanam. The board also manages the Batu Caves Sri Subramaniam Temple. It provides consultancy services to the Malaysian government pertaining to Hindu matters.
Mariamman Building or Bangunan Mariamman
This building was completed in 2007 and it connects to the Sri Mariamman Temple at the rear. This is the brain child of the Malaysian Indian Congress President, Datuk Seri Samy Vellu.
The front of this building faces the Klang Bus Terminal and the Pasar Seni LRT station.
It is a 3-storey building with 2 auditoriums and a hall. There are also 2 levels of basement car park.
Hinduism in Malaysia
Indian traders of the 7th century first brought the religion to this land. You can find evidence of this particularly in Bujang Valley, Kedah. However, the form of Hinduism practiced in Malaysia today is of those who settled in Malaya during the British colonial era of the 19th century.
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