Widely celebrated by the Tamil community in Malaysia, Thaipusam is a national holiday that many look forward to. The festival marks the occasion when Parvati (the Hindu goddess of fertility and love), gave Lord Murugan (the Hindu god of war) a spear so he could defeat the evil demon named Soorapadman. Many devotees also believe that Thaipusam is Murugan’s birthday.
This year, Thaipusam falls on Monday, January 21, which means most Malaysians will be enjoying a nice long weekend. Even if you don’t celebrate the festival, why not take advantage of the off days and plan for a short getaway? Visit a temple to witness a Thaipusam procession or simply marvel at their beautiful architecture.
While there are many Hindu temples across the country where you can watch a procession, there are a few temples in Peninsular Malaysia that attract not only devotees but also local and foreign tourists, and they’re worth checking out.
Here are 5 majestic temples in Malaysia to visit for Thaipusam festivities:
1. BatuCaves (Gombak, Selangor)
The most famous Malaysian Hindu temple of all – Batu Caves attract visitors all year round. A limestone hill with a series of caves and cave temples located in Gombak; the infamous 272 steps of Batu Caves have recently been given a colourful makeover. Inside the main cave of the 100-year-old temple, you’ll find beautiful sculptures and idols.
Nearby attractions: 99 Wonderland Park, Selayang Hot Spring, and FRIM Museum
2. Sri Mahamariamman Temple (Kuala Lumpur)
Featuring a Dravidian architecture, the Sri Mahamariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur. Located near Chinatown, it was constructed in 1873 and boasts of a 75-feet tall, multi-tiered tower, which is (quite literally!) it’s biggest attraction. It may interest you to know that despite being on a busy street, many visitors have reported a strange yet pleasant sense of tranquility on stepping inside the temple.
Nearby attractions: Central Market, Guan Di Temple, and Petaling Street (Chinatown)
3. Sri Shakti Temple (Bukit Rotan, Kuala Selangor)
According to Visit Selangor, the Sri Shakti Temple in Bukit Rotan is the only temple in the world where manifestations of all 51 Shaktis (divine feminine energy) are present. Interestingly, it was designed using Thundu Pattirippu Pathroba Pathram, a rare and complex sculpting technique, which is reflected even through the grand entrance that is 74-feet tall and a sight to behold!
Nearby attractions: Kampung Kuantan Firefly Park, Kuala Selangor Freshwater Fish Park, and Remis Beach
4. Waterfall HilltopTemple (George Town, Penang)
One of the oldest Hindu temples in Penang dedicated to Lord Murugan, this Waterfall Hilltop temple offers its visitors an even bigger challenge than Batu Caves — you need to climb 513 stairs to reach the top! Also touted as the largest Lord Murugan temple outside India, the temple features a 70-feet tall, seven-storey main tower.
Nearby attractions: Craft Batik, Moon Gate, and Penang Botanic Gardens
5. ArulmiguSri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple (Tebrau, Johor)
Perhaps one of the most breathtaking Hindu temples in the country, the Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple was listed in the Malaysian Book of Records as the first and only glass temple in Malaysia. Located in Tebrau, Johor, the temple features a Dravidian architecture. The key attraction is the lighting effect emanating from the 300,000 pieces of red, blue, yellow, green, purple and white glass that adorn about 90% of the temple ceilings, walls, and pillars!
Nearby attractions: Komtar JBCC, Johor Old Chinese Temple, Johor Zoo, State Secretariat Building, and Bazar Karat
Some tips before you go on a trip:
Before you visit one and embark on a weekend getaway, be mindful of the right visiting hours, appropriate dress code, and maintain cleanliness.
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