Location: Jalan Bandar
Built In: 1968
Significance: It is the oldest and richest temple in Kuala
How To Reach: One can easily reach here by hiring taxis, or by
boarding trains, buses from the city.
Sri Mahamariamman Temple is acclaimed to be the oldest and richest
Hindu temple in the capital city of Malaysia-Kuala Lumpur. Since its
foundation, the temple endowed with an important place of worship to the
early Indian immigrants. Located on the rim of Chinatown along Jalan
Bandar, its present structure was built in 1968. Today, its flamboyant
'Raja Gopuram' tower, which is built in typical South Indian temple
architecture, dominates the skyline of the region.
This highly-revered temple was founded by K. Thamboosamy Pillai, in
1873. At the outset, it was used as a private shrine by the Pillai
family. Earlier, the temple was sited somewhere around the Kuala Lumpur
Railway Station. Later, in 1885, it was shifted to its present location
along Jalan Tun H.S. Lee. In the late 1920s, the temple was made open to
the public and its management was handed over to a board of trustees.
Its initial structure was knocked down in 1887 to construct a brick
building in its place.
Once again the building was demolished to erect the present temple
building, in 1968. Though the gateway to the temple was completed in
1972, the newly-built temple was consecrated in 1973. Talking about the
temple's architecture, its 5-tiered gopuram (tower) is the most
stupendous feature. Its impressive 22.9m (75ft) high pyramid-shaped gate
tower is adorned with depictions of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The main
sculptor who is known to have created 228 idols on the gopuram is Late
The entire structure of the temple looks like the shape of a human body
lying on its back with the head towards the west and the feet towards
the east. The gopuram symbolizes the feet of the body, further
symptomatic of the threshold between the material and the spiritual
world. At the back is the garba graham (sanctum sanctorum) that
symbolizes the head. This freestanding structure has its own roof and
walls, along with just one entrance that faces the east. The main deity
Sri Maha Mariamman is installed in the inner sanctum.
Mariamman is believed to be the manifestation of Goddess Parvati. She is
worshipped by overseas Indians, especially Tamils, as she is regarded as
their protector during their stay in foreign lands. The main prayer hall
is festooned with murals and frescoes. The three shrines within the
temple are roofed by an ornately embellished dome. Around the main
sanctum, there are four smaller shrines embracing Lord Ganesha and Lord
Muruga. In accordance with Hindu tradition, the temple is reconsecrated
once in every 12 years.
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple consists of one silver chariot, which is
known to be the tallest chariot in Malaysia. It is brought out from the
temple only once in a year, during festivities of Thaipusam. On
Deepavali, the temple gets innumerable devotees who come to pay homage
from far and near. In fact, on Thaipusam, countless devotes throng the
temple early in the morning to take part in the long procession leading
up to Batu Caves. Concisely, Sri Mahamariamman Temple is a nice place to
visit and to receive the blessings of the goddess.