The interior of the Waterfall Hilltop Temple, a famous Hindu temple located near the Botanic Gardens.
Today marks the day of the Thaipusam festival, celebrated by Hindu devotees in the country.
Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community annually. Outside India, Malaysia is the only country which widely observes this festival. In Malaysia, it was popularly celebrated by many Hindu devotees either at the Batu Caves in Selangor or the Waterfall Temple in Penang. Carrying the ‘kavadi’ or pulling chariots via ropes pierced on the bodies of devotees are common sights during the festival.
Little India is an ethnic Indian enclave located in George Town, covering an area around Queen Street, Chulia Street and Market Street. Rows of shops selling various Indian apparels, merchandise and food can be found in this area in addition to Penang’s oldest old Indian temple, the Sri Mahamariamman Temple. Little India is especially crowded during festive season such as Diwali or Deepavali.
Reported as the largest temple dedicated to Lord Murugan outside India, the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple located in the Botanical Garden (or Waterfall) area of Penang was built at a cost of approximately USD 3.1 million and took five years to complete. The staircase of 512 steps leading up to the new temple was found to be longer than the 272-step the Hindu temple in Batu Caves, Selangor. The temple complex and its hill area also houses several other Hindu shrines as well as a massive statue of Lord Shiva.
The new temple features were inspired from the South Indian Chola and Pallava eras and mainly used imported materials from India.
The old temple is popularly known as the Waterfall Hill Temple or Lord Murugan Temple in the island and is also the main site of the annual Thaipusam pilgrimage.
On a side note, Happy Diwali to all who celebrate the festive day out there!