It might not have occurred to you that a house of worship could be both cultural and attention-grabbing at the same time. The Sri Mahamariamman temple in Kuala Lumpur is one of the most popular temples among worshippers and visitors alike. The Sri Mahamariamman temple was built in year 1873 by K. Thamboosamy Pillai but was only opened to the public in the 1920s. After withstanding time and elements, the original structure was replaced with the current building in 1968. Today, with more than a century of history, the Sri Mahamariamman temple is the oldest as well as the richest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia.
So how does the Sri Mahamariamman temple pique your interest? The most remarkable feature of the temple is a structure which is similar to the shape of a human body with its head positioned towards the west and the feet pointing east. The feet are symbolized by a 75-feet high gopuram (monumental tower) standing five tiers high. There is an impressive gateway at every tier, each adorned with 228 Hindu deities that are sculpted in the styles of south India. The chief deity, Sri MahaMariamman, is installed at the inner sanctum which is the only entrance that faces to the east.
The main prayer hall in the temple decorated by murals and frescos is another focal point for you. The location of three shrines in the main temple is roofed by an ornamental embellished dome. In addition, there are four smaller shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesha and his brother, Lord Muruga, located around the main prayer hall.
You could spot a giant sliver chariot which is also a major feature during the Hindu festival of Thaipusam. The chariot is brought out from the temple when Thaipusam approaches. You may pay a visit to the temple on that holy day to see for yourself how the chariot is used to carry the statues of Lord Muruga and his consorts (Valli and Teivayanni) up to Batu Caves in wee hours of the morning. Prayers are offered prior to the long possession where devotees attach huge carriers (kavadi) to their bodies by hooks and haul the portable altars with lances piercing their skins. Other devotees will carry containers containing milk as offering to Lord Muruga. Thaipusam is one festival that never fails to attract curious onlookers who are keen to learn and observe Hindu cultures. Another popular festival that puts the Sri Mahamariamman temple in the center of attention is Deepavali, the festival of Light.
The Sri Mahamariamman temple boasts various intricate architecture that if you are a photography enthusiast, you could spend the whole day here find capturing shots of various angles and perspectives.
Popular attractions nearby the Indian temple are of course the vibrant Petaling Street (Night & Day) market, Central Market, Merdeka Square and the equally beautiful Guan Di Chinese Temple (located along the same road, just 40 meters from Sri Mahamariamman).
The temple is open daily from 6am until 8.30pm (Friday until 9.30pm, Saturday until 9pm). During special festivals opening hours sometimes differ.
Entrance to the temple is free of charge. A tiny fee of a few ringgit is charged for storing your shoes at a safe place when you are visiting the inside of the temple. Visitors are not allowed in with their shoes on.
Contact details & address Sri Mahamariamman Temple
Jalan Tun H. S. Lee (Jalan Bandar)
50050 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: + 604 263 4941
How to get to the Sri Mahamariamman Temple
The temple is located within Chinatown, near Petaling Street. If you are coming by metro, just exit at the Pasar Seni LRT station. From there you have to walk about 50 meters along Jalan Sultan, and then turn left into Jalan Tun H. S. Lee. You will see Sri Mahamariamman on your left side after 50 meters. Jalan Tun H. S. Lee runs parallel to Petaling Street. Alternatively, you could also take a taxis or a bus to your destination, any taxi driver will know the location of the temple.
Video Sri Mahamariamman Temple
Map of the Sri Mahamariamman Temple
Got any good tips to share with us? Do you know of any great things to do in Kuala Lumpur, or tips on the best places to eat? Let us know by leaving a reply below!