Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sri Maha Kaliamman Temple – Bukit Larut/Maxwell Hill, Perak

Mesmerised by ornate flowers, lullabied by chirping birds, soothed by clicking beetles, and elated by serenading cicadas, the unassuming devotee will be enamoured by the pristine beauty of Maxwell Hill. The spiritual serendipity befits the devotee, who discovers this alluring Kaliamman temple that will soften even the most callous of souls. The goddess summons her children to embrace her motherly boundless affection, pacifying their anxieties, blessing their earthly desires, whilst gradually detaching their karmic shackles. The temple, languidly huddled on Maxwell Hill, built by the Pillay brothers, Rama and Kochdai, to abode the goddess’s respite from the transcendent heavens. The bearer of the mystical ‘trisulam’, she wanders through dust and dew, witnessing the dancing duality of our reality. The Hindu families, who laboured tea, flowers and vegetables, took refuge at goddess’s feet, filling their sorrowed hearts with spiritual devotion and calming their aching muscles with spiritual fervour. The offspring of these families have journeyed away, scattered throughout Malaysia and beyond, seeking prosperity and knowledge. But the calling of the goddess allures them back to their origin, customarily during auspicious festivals, when flags are hailed, processions are held and offerings are handed. 

Every Friday and ‘Pournami’, the enthralling ‘Kalika Trishati’ is recited to the goddess, thus emanating pulsating, twirling vibration, magnified beyond the four thresholds of the temple, pervading the forest with resplendent ‘shakti’. Oftentimes, the attending unassuming devotee will be blessed, hearing the graceful bells of the enigmatic dancing ‘kolusu’. Other times, the delight of the goddess’s swaying ‘kolusu’ is replaced by the rhythmic beating of the ‘udukai’, perhaps indicative of the goddess’s unpredictable mood, salient only by sound. And only sometimes, those with the transcended visual clarity of the inner eye have beheld the goddess, awed yet humbled. The effulgent spirit of the goddess became the adoration of Madhava Swamy, a reclusive spiritual soul, radiant internally yet nondescript outwardly. The isolation was solace to the swami, who performed austerities for lengthy periods in solitude. In his dreamlike trance, he often spoke to the goddess, conceivably comparable to an infant and his affectionate mother. He had been blessed with ‘deivam vakku’, and appropriately counselled the goddess’s believers the spiritual approach to overcome hindrances and triumph endeavours.
The turbulent nature of the goddess transcends the limited cognizance of mortals, each stride towards her peels layers of our perceived reality. The devout, who beg for her blessed nuances, lament for her protective glance, and wallow for her divine advent, will surely be blessed. Nonetheless those who seek to implore her darker side will temporarily have beseeched her goodwill, only to be annihilated under distress. Passing devotees who have come to pay tribute have been coaxed by the goddess to stay back, warned by impending danger. Those who have distressed her solitary fortress are deprived of sleep, only to come back falling at her divine feet, begging for forgiveness, subsequently forgiven by the ever-merciful goddess. The yearly Navaratri is discernible by the conspicuous kaleidoscope of colours, scents, observances, and rituals. Barks, braches and twigs are sought for the sacrificial fire, including trays of herbs, fruits, spices, and roots. ‘Nei’ poured, ‘mantras’ uttered, ‘sankalpam’ supplicated, and finally ‘purhanuti’ offered, culminating the propitious ‘Kali Homam’. The scorching fire, peaks and scales, fierier and wilder, effusively blessing all in its zenith moment. 

Address: Frasers Hill, 34000 Taiping, Perak. Contact: Thoraraisa (013-4802615), Rama (017-5793421)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Arulmigu Sri Subramaniar Alayam – Kerling, Selangor

The foundation of this temple in Kerling is sacredly cradled by the adjacent flowing river, which abundantly nourishes the revered ground. Eras ago, a wandering ‘sadhu’ (spiritual monk), had meditated on the river bank, for the spiritual sustenance of the land. He was brought out of his tranquil contemplation, by the wailing cries of a married couple. Startled, he then strolled towards the couple, and enquired the reason for their tumultuous behaviour. The couple gloomily replied they were ill-fated, trodden with bad luck, and lacked the will to be alive, as they were not blessed with offspring. Upon hearing this, the monk considerately admonished them, and gave valuable advice on how to deal with unfavourable circumstances in life. Instinctively, the monk then waded into the river, until the iridescent water reached his waist, and heaved out a glowing, dense, rock resembling ‘Bala Murugan’ (baby form of Lord Subramaniar).
Droves of spiritual believers, often afflicted by incurable diseases who ardently pray at this temple, often miraculously obtain a salvation to their malady within 21 days. Devotees who experience ill-fate, personal complications, pledge an oath to Lord Subramaniar to balm their festering mental anguish. Those, whose problems have been resolved, often observe ‘kavadi’ (ritual dance) for the Thaipusam festival held at the temple. Lord Subramaniar’s ‘vahana’ (mount), a wild peacock had graced the festival once, miraculously appearing in the temple compound, swayed on the curvatures of the ‘vimana’ (tower above main sanctum), and displaying its gorgeous plumage. Another miracle that occurred in the temple, during a grand ‘yagna’ (ritual fire ceremony) in the premise of the temple, was a fiery formation of ‘Bala Murugan’ during the ’poornahuti’ (final offering), testament to all-pervading presence of Lord Subramaniar.
There are many personal experiences by devotees, one of which is the temple priest contracted a mysterious ailment, and was informed by his medical doctor to prepare for the end of his days. Succumbed by calamity, nonetheless with a sliver of hope, the priest instantly started meditating in the inner sanctum of the temple, contemplating on Lord Subramaniar. After several days of meditation, the priest’s health rapidly recovered, overwhelming the ailment. Another spiritual marvel was the healing of a 7 year old mute boy. The parents of the young boy brought him to the temple, in sheer desperation as they were deeply concerned for their son’s wellbeing. The priest etched Aum on the boy’s tongue, using a ‘Vel’, devoid of piercing it, and the boy immediately started speaking. In addition, many clairvoyant devotees have witnessed a vision of Lord Idumban guarding the boundary of the temple, safeguarding the safety of devotees.
Some of the temple’s significant attractions are the adjacent river, and lotus pond. Many spiritual aspirants who are undergoing ‘Naga Dosham’, often pray at the temple, and perform milk ‘abisekham’ on Naga Amman at the river bank, whereas those distressed by black magic are advised to bathe in the river, and then pray to Lord Subramaniar. ‘Tarpanam’ prayers are often held during ‘Mahalaya Amavasai’ to appease ancestors, and remove ‘pitru dosham’. The lotus pond is often sighted with ‘deva’s’ (celestial beings), bathing and humming melodious tunes, therefore is considered auspicious.
Address: Arulmigu Sri Subramaniar Temple, Jalan Besar, 44000 Kerling, Selangor.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sri Subramaniam Thuropathai Amman Alayam – Malacca

The effulgent consciousness of cosmic ‘shakti’ (divine energy) reflected by Goddes Thuropathai, yields prevailing control of the five elements of ‘bhuloka’ (earth), which is fire, space, wind, water and earth. Those who worship her will benefit the material aspect of spiritual evolution, as Goddess Thropathai was destined for this role in her deific exaltation. The Goddess is an important figure from the epic Mahabarata.  As narrated from the Narada and Vayu Puranas, Goddess Thuropathai is a combined celestial representation of Goddesses Shyamala (wife of Dharma), Bharati (Wife of Vayu), Sachi (wife of Indra), Usha (wife of Ashwinis) and hence married their earthly counterparts in the form of the five Pandavas. The temple is estimated to have been built in 1863, in a rustic style of design.  It has been recently renovated, and upon completion the ‘Maha Kumbabishegam’ (Hindu temple ritual) was performed on 11th December 2005.
Many saints and holy souls have blessed this sacred abode. Kirupanandha Variyar had visited this temple twice.  He had silently meditated in this sacred space, and observed the prevailing actinic vibration of Lord Thandayuthapani. Bangaru Adigalar from Melmaruvathur, had also graced this temple, and performed an auspicious ‘yagna’ (ritual fire ceremony) for the benefit of female devotees. This temple is propitious for the contentment of devotees, as Goddess Thuropathai incessantly blesses the deserving with wealth, health and happiness. Childless couples, who often pray here, are miraculously blessed with offspring. The blessed couples often come back, contributing towards the upkeep of the temple. A sick Punjabi lady with a long-standing ailment had a vision of Goddess Thuropathai. In the vision, she received a spiritual instruction whereby to obtain ‘kungkumam’ (red turmeric), lime, and ‘abisegham tirtham’ (holy oblation) from the temple, and to continuously bathe with the sacred substances. She was cured within a couple of days, and became a steadfast devotee of Goddess Thropathai. Numerous devotees that pay homage to this temple obtain water from the temple well to bath, citing its astonishing healing properties, especially for skin disease.

The temple has 4 ‘gopuram’ (monumental tower), whereby the ‘Raja Gopuram’ is elegantly elevated, infused with Dravidian architecture, highlighting the structural beauty of this holy abode for Goddess Thuropathai. The temple is filled with heavenly murals, and divine sculptures, comprising the 108 Tandava dance phase of Lord Shiva, the marriage of Lord Ganesha with Buddhi and Siddhi, and the 63 ‘Nayanmar’ saints representing Saivism. As the temple has 2 main deities, Lord Thandayuthapani and Goddess Thuropathai, the deities have a separate inner sanctum, as well as a separate ‘kodi maram’ (flagpole). The accompanying deities include Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, Goddess Visalatchi, Sri Krishnan, Sri Hanuman, Sri Kamatchi, Sri Bairavar, Sri Aravan, Sri Katteverayan, Sri Periyachi, Lord Nadarajan, Sri Nagar and the ‘Navagraha’ (9 planets). Since the temple has two main deities, therefore separate festivals are conducted for both deities during the passage of a Hindu year. The festival for lord Murugan is celebrated on Vaigasi Visagam, whereas for Goddess Thuropathai, a month-long festival is celebrated in ‘Adi’ month, culminating with a sacred fire-walking ceremony, participated by pious ‘Shakta’ devotees.

Address: Jalan Gajah Berang, 75200 Melaka.
Phone: 06-2843060

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sanatana Dharam Sabha (Shiv Temple) – Taiping, Perak

The North Indians Hindus, despite being a relatively small community, are an integral part of the multi-racial population of Malaysia, which include the ethnic group of Gujaratis, Sindhis, Punjabi Hindus, Bengalees, Marathi and Uttar Pradeshis. These vibrant Hindu devotees who resided in the vicinity of Taiping, were primarily entrepreneurs, and desired their own temple to worship divinity as well for communal gathering. They had scouted for a suitable land to construct the temple, and soon found a parcel of land, which had a snake mound under a peepal tree. This signifies the existence of ‘nagas’ (holy snakes), natural guardians of Hindu temples, therefore apt for the flourishing practices of Hindu rites and ritual for the consecrated deity. In 1936, the temple was constructed for Lord Shiva, according the spiritual science of Hindu temple architecture, and has been gradually refurbished over the passage of time, reflecting the celestial sanctuary present today. The temple is renowned to confer boons to its devotees without hesitation, and protect its spiritual followers with awe inspiring ferocity. 
The distinct aspect of this temple incorporates elements of the North Indian ritual of temple worship, which allows Hindu devotees to participate in the ‘abisekham’ (pouring of holy libation) ceremony, usually exclusive for the temple priest. This spiritual ritual which bonds deity and devotee is observed during the monthly and yearly Shivratri, culminates into joyous fervour and strengthens the ideals of Hinduism. The only restriction is that devotees are not allowed to wear any leather apparel into the inner sanctum, to avoid the displeasure of Lord Nandi, the ‘vahana’ (deity’s mount) of Lord Shiva. This temple assimilates inspiration from the cosmic ‘panchabhuta’ (five elements), manifested as ‘prithvi’ (earth), ‘jal’ (water), ‘agni’ (fire), ‘vayu’ (air) and ‘akasha’ (ether), into the structure, design and layout of the temple. The ‘vimana’ (tower above the sanctum) has unobstructed exposure for ether, the 4 sides of the ‘mandapam’ (temple pavilion) open to indicate air, water unceasingly dripping on the ‘Shivling’ (mark of Lord Shiva), the temple built on earth and 4 ‘kuthuvilakku’ always lit around the inner sanctum to identify fire. There are 2 ‘Shivling’ in this temple; one is the auspicious Bana lingam, hailing from holy Narmada River, which has been consecrated at the inner sanctum. The other ‘Shivling’ was mystically discovered in a pond at Taiping’s picturesque Lake Garden, by a Hindu soldier in the late 1950’s. Many miracles have occurred at this temple, but the most palpable spiritual occurrence took place during the onset of the tin mining boom. The temple land was acquired by a tin mining company, and soon after the temple was requested to vacate. However as soon as the excavation machine came close to the temple courtyard, it broke down, and was beyond repair, thus the temple was left unperturbed. The auspicious days of Pradosham and monthly Shivratri are celebrated with much anticipation at this temple. Pious devotees seeking the blessings of Lord Nandi, can sometimes hear grunting and heavy breathing, perceived to be the presence of Lord Shiva’s ‘vahana’, ethereally manifesting to counsel and bless Lord Shiva’s followers. Many devotees dreamt of Lord Nandi blessing them with peace and prosperity, especially after attending temple festivals or holy fasts.
The virtuous devotees of this temple vehemently declare that the presence of Lord Shiva is resolute here as many people have heard the ‘damaru’ (musical instrument) sound whilst meditating at this temple. The sound from the ‘’damaru’ represents the cosmic heartbeat of the universe, hence construed as Lord Shiva’s vibrational ‘shakti’ (divine energy) has been embedded on this sanctified area. The presence of the enchanting ‘naga’ as the anointed guardian is one of the mystical feature of this temple. Many devotees have dreamt of a ‘naga’ coiled around the ‘Shivling’ in the inner sanctum, signifying its presence as the divine custodian for this temple. Another charming characteristic of this temple, whereby pleasingly involving rituals for Lord Shiva to rest in solitude. After concluding hymns for Lord Shiva to sleep, a miniature bed, along with pillow, bed sheet, wooden slipper and walking stick is positioned suitably at the inner sanctum, just before the inner sanctum doors are secured for the night. These rituals are considered an affectionate custom that signifies adoration for the deity, Lord Shiva.
Address: Lot 1948, Jalan Medan Taiping 7, Taman Medan Taiping, Taiping.


Monday, December 31, 2012

Arulmigu Sannasimalai Andavar Temple – Cheng, Malacca

This harmoniously divine temple has its origins intricately belonging to a mysterious ‘jeeva samadhi’ (spiritual tomb) of an unknown Hindu saint from India.  Upon entering the premise of the temple, you will feel the spiritual energy reverberating from the ‘jeeva samadhi’ wafting fragrantly throughout this holy place, as though allowing devotees to breathe gallons of ‘moksha’ (self-realisation of the soul). This saint is thought to have come from India, and had settled in this part of Malacca, almost 120 years ago. According to the historical archives of the temple, the saint practised a daily worship of a Shiva Lingam, and meditated on a nearby hill, hence the origin of the temple’s name, which translates as the saint’s hill. As ‘abisekham’ (pouring of libations) for the Shiva Lingam, the saint had daily obtained fresh milk from a cowherd. Strangely one day, a cow and calf appeared at the saint’s premise, and thereafter provided the essential milk for the ‘abisekham’. Although the cow and its calf have long passed away, a sculpture in remembrance of these divine creatures has been enshrined in the temple.
As the saint was knowledgeable and skilled in herbal medicine, he was always sought by people of the surrounding areas, to cure ailments that modern medicine could not remedy. Amongst his devotees, was an Indian of ‘Nattukotai Chettiar’ ancestry, who tended to the needs of the holy saint. This man donated the land whereby the temple sits currently, and was also responsible for establishing the ‘jeeva samadhi’ for the saint. Before attaining ‘jeeva samadhi’ the saint handed over the Shiva Lingam to the Indian man, and ordained him to perform the necessary spiritual rites for the Shiva Lingam. Soon the Indian man established a temple for the Shiva Lingam, but consecrated the temple as a Lord Muruga temple, hence invoking the grace of Lord Shiva’s holy son, Lord Muruga. Many devotees have witnessed a vision of a golden hued, youthful Lord Muruga, smiling dazzlingly from the inner sanctum of the temple, beckoning devotees to receive his vibrant ‘darshan’ (spiritual grace). The blessings of Lord Muruga are apparent here, with the sudden appearance of a peacock, which is known to be Lord Muruga’s vehicle. The temple authorities contacted the Malacca zoo, inquiring is there was a missing peacock, but the zoo management indicated otherwise. The sudden appearance of the peacock at the temple, without anyone in sight, has prompted many devotees to belief that this is a divine blessing from Lord Muruga.
During Masi Magam festival, Hindu devotees from all over Malaysia will make a pilgrimage to the Sannasimalai Andavar Temple. The two-day festival will begin with the journey of a silver chariot bearing a statue of Lord Murugan adorned with flowers, fruits, and adornment. The spiritual journey will start from Malacca’s oldest Hindu temple, Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple. The 8km journey to Cheng, will be trailed behind by frenzied barefoot devotees, some breaking coconuts, others carrying ‘pal kudam’ (milk container) on their heads as a sign of gratitude. Most of these devotees are completing a vow made to Lord Murugan, requesting his spiritual blessings for achieving good wealth, health and happiness.


Sri Arumugam Gurukkal: 012-6980172 
Address: Kuil Arulmigu Sannasimalai Andavar, 75250 Cheng, Melaka.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Panching Sivan Temple (Charas Cave) – Kuantan, Pahang

Established majestically to tower its surrounding is the pristine Charas cave, the abode of an immensely mystical Sivalingam. Ascending the steel stairs, as though soaring towards Kailasam, Saivite devotees will bask in the splendor of Panching Sivan temple.  Lord Shiva, the dweller of Saivite hearts, resides in this mystical setting, encouraging devotees to rise into the realms of spirituality. The Sivalingam was brought to the cave in 1989 by Nachitram, a lawyer from Negeri Sembilan. At that time, the lawyer had visited Charas Cave, to a Buddhist Temple which was built nearly a hundred years ago. During his visit there, he met with a ‘Siddhar’ (Indian Sage) in the cave, who advised him to bring a Sivalingam and install in the cave. He had forgotten this spiritual instruction, but was gently reminded by a close associate. He immediately flew to India to purchase the black marble Sivalingam, and got it shipped to Malaysia. Upon returning it to Panching, he was informed by the Buddhist temple that there was never a presence of an Indian man in the caves.
It is believed is that there are several Indian sages who meditate in the cave, but are concealed to the public, however manifest occasionally to dispense spiritual guidance. Dr.Sethugavalar, the temple President, together with other noble Hindus arranged workers to haul the 9 feet tall Sivalingam to the entrance of the cave, an astonishing 150 feet up. From there, the Sivalingam had to be gradually rolled into the cave for distance of another 100 meters for installation, and was placed facing north. The temple committee sought the assistance of a leading temple builder in the country, Sthapati Thannirmalai. The sthapati came to the temple and advised the temple committee that the position of the Sivalingam is currently facing north, but would be more auspicious if facing east. He also mentioned that there should be a Bramapaham for the Shivalingam. After carrying out the sthapati’s instructions, the temple committee arranged a Maha Kumbabhishegam on 8th June 2008 with the participation of 2,000 devotees.
Ir.A.Sivabalan, a contractor by profession and also an expert numerologist, had been giving advice on numerology, changing the karmic patterns of many people. Due to this, he accumulated some of the karmic vibrations of other individuals, and was advised to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. Twice he had tried to enter Lord Shiva’s temple, but was unsuccessful, obstructed by heavy karmic hindrances. Then, the mystical Lord Shiva from Panching temple appeared in a vision to Ir.A.Sivabalan. In this revelation, he saw a dazzling Sivalingam up in cave on a hill nearby Kuantan. He inquired from his friends on the whereabouts of a Shiva Temple in cave near Kuantan. He was informed there was a temple in a hill cave in Panching, which is in close proximity to Kuantan. Ir.A.Sivabalan immediately visited Panching cave. Upon arriving he knew this was the location he witnessed in his vision a few months ago. With an enormous spiritual resolve, Ir.A.Sivabalan brought his workers to Charas cave in to renovate the Shiva Temple including erecting a steel staircase structure leading up to the entrance of the cave.
Many devotees have witnessed ‘Shweta Nag’ (white cobra) around the vicinity of this temple, and even on top of the Shivalingam. ‘Shweta Nag’ are supposed to be great devotees of Lord Shiva. This holy cave has a number of natural images, including a five faced ‘naga' (holy snake) on the roof of the cave, with water trickling from its mouth, dripping continuously onto the holy Shivalingam. Also evident is a formation of Lord Ganesha. At present the temple has daily poojas and is open daily from 9.00am to 5.00pm. Celebrated grandly are the twice a month Pradosha fast, and the yearly Maha Shivaratri.
Directions: East coast highway Kuala Lumpur / Kuatan, exit at Kuatan/Inderah Mahkota, pay the toll, at the traffic light turn right and drive 14 kilometer, sign board displaying Gua Charas, will lead to a cave for the Sivan temple.
Contact: 013 9387541 Mr.K.Balakrishnan (temple  secretary)