Malaysia is an epitome of various cultures in South East Asia. It comprises of a unique blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Thai people among others and is quite a diverse country. The state religion of Malaysia is Islam; however, the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion to its all its people. For years, people belonging to various religions have coexisted peacefully in all parts of this beautiful country. Sizable expat populations of Malaysia are Hindus and you can actually get to see a number of Hindu temples across the country. The most notable of them are listed below.
One of the most popular Hindu temples outside India, Batu caves are a series of limestone caves with cave temples inside it. These caves are said to be 400 million years old and draw thousands of visitors from all around the world every year. The first of the biggest caves at the site is dedicated to Lord Murugan. One has to climb 272 steps inside the cave to reach the shrine. During the holy festival of Thaipusam, hordes of devotees come here to pay homage to Lord Murugan.
Regarded as the oldest and the richest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur, the Sri Mahamariamman Temple is a beautiful South Indian Hindu temple located in the vicinity of Chinatown area. Built in 1873 by K. Thamboosamy Pillay as a private shrine, it is dedicated to Mother Goddess Amman and was open to public in the year 1920. The temple boasts of intricate carvings and grandiose façade. One cannot miss the impressive gopuram that adorn the main entrance of the temple. With 228 idols of Hindu deities meticulously sculpted on it, visitors can spend some time marveling at its beauty. The temple buzzes with activities during the Hindu festival of Deepavali and Thaipusam.
One of the oldest functioning Hindu Chitty temples in Southeast Asia, Sri Payatha Moorthi Temple is located in the state of Malacca. The simple architecture of the temple belies its significance. Dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the elephant deity, this temple is said to be built in 1781 by the then Chitty leader Thavinayagar Chitty. The location of the temple signifies harmony – it is situated on what also known as the harmony street due to the fact that the Kampung Kling Mosque and Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is located in the vicinity.
Also known as the Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple, the Tebrau Glass Temple is situated in Johor Bahru. The present temple as it stands today is the result of a massive renovation that took place under the guidance of Sri Sinnathamby Sivasamy, chief priest of the temple. Ever since it was officially reopened in 1996 after being rebuilt in glass, it receives a number of tourists as well as devotees. The temple also boasts of having the rare distinction of being listed in the Malaysian book of records as its only temple built of glass in the year 2010.
Dedicated to Lord Murugan, the elder brother of Lord Ganesha and the first son of Goddess Parvathi and Lord Shiva, the original name of this temple is Sri Marathandavar Bala Dhandayuthapani Alayam. Many folklore leading to the construction of this temple are popular here. It is said that this place saw many miracles happening and a sacred tree that is a part of the story of how this temple came into being is still there standing tall in the temple compound.
Klang Perumal Temple situated in Klang, Selangor in Malaysia is one of the largest and oldest Vaishnavite temples in Malaysia. Also known as Sri Sundararaja Perumal Temple, it is often called as the “Thirupati of South East Asia”. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu who is worshiped by many South Indians in the form of Perumal, this temple is situated in close vicinity of Little India in Klang. In the year 2006, the temple was the first one to be awarded ISO 9001:2000 certification for its quality standards and its contribution in the religious and cultural service to Hindus in Malaysia.
Dedicated to Lord Murugan, the official name of the Waterfall Temple in Penang is Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Kovil. Situated in George Town in Penang, the temple becomes the focal point for the Hindu community during the festival of Thaipusam. Devotees have to climb 513 stairs to pay homage to Lord Murugan here. One of the striking features of the temple is the seven-storey gopuram which stands at a height of 21.6m. It is said to be the largest Murugan shrine outside India.
The story behind this temple dedicated to the Tamil village deity Sri Ayyanar is quite interesting. It is said that a migrant worker named Periamma built a small statue of Sri Ayyanar using some clay and sand from her village in India and placed it below a tree where she would worship every day. Soon, this makeshift temple had quite a followers and worshippers. An English officer wanted to the tree that housed the idol to be removed for some future projects, but one night he had a dream that seemed like a divine intervention. The tree was not cut and the worshiping continued. Today, a magnificent temple with a 72 feet tall statue of Sri Ayyanar stands at the site. However, the modest idol crafted by Periamma is still preserved in the temple.
9. Sri Shakti Dhevasthanam in Bukit Rotan
Since 2013, the quiet village of Bukit Rotan in Selangor is home to one of the magnificent Hindu temples in Malaysia – the Sri Shakti Dhevasthanam, also known as Sri Shakti Temple. Adorned with an intricately sculpted 5-storey gopuram, the temple was built over four years at an approximate cost of RM 12 million. Craftsmen and workers from India worked on this project and it was consecrated in May 2013. One of the most striking features of this temple that make it more special is the 51 Shakti statues that are lined along the temple’s internal corridor. These statues are representative of the 51 ‘Shakti Peeth’ located at various places over the Indian sub-continent.
Malaysia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world along with being a multi-cultural melting pot of many world religions. This multi-ethnicity gives rise to it being home to a sizable population of Hindus who in turn had many traditional temples built in the country. To read more such informative and interesting articles, you can subscribe to our newsletter which is delivered right into your inbox so you don’t miss anything.