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Friday, June 29, 2012

Waterfall Hindu temple is Penang’s new landmark

The biggest Hindu temple outside of India demonstrates the states freedom of worship policy.
GEORGE TOWN: Thousands thronged the waterfall area today to witness the grand consecration ceremony of the newly built hilltop Hindu temple, Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Kovil.
Built by the Penang Hindu Endowments Board (PHEB) at cost of RM10 million, the temple is said to be largest temple dedicated to Lord Muruga outside of India.
The consecration ceremony started before dawn.
Among those present were Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, his deputy P Ramasamy, who is also PHEB chairman, MIC president G Palanivel, Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen and PHEB commissioners A Tanasekharan, RSN Rayer and S Raveentharan, and the temple management committee chairman P Kuvenaraju.
Lim has described the temple consecration as the Pakatan’s government’s policy of freedom of religion for all.
“Islam is the religion of the state of Penang, but freedom of worship is enjoyed by the adherents of all faiths,” he said.
He added that the state government has contributed financially to the temple and to other places of worship in Penang.
He said the state government hoped that the newest and significant addition to the Hindu temples in Penang would be a magnet for Hindu devotees and tourists as well.
The temple project started some 10 years ago when PHEB deemed that the original Murugan Kovil sitting on the hill below the new structure was not big enough to accommodate the rapidly increasing huge crowd during Thaipusam and other major Hindu festivals.
The temple was built by craftsmen from India with a magnificent seven-storey 21.6m-tall main tower. There are over 500 steps, more than in Batu Caves, leading from the foothill to its 20,000 sq ft hall.
Some 40 Hindu priests from the six main temples dedicated to Lord Muruga Perumaan in India, the Aaruppadai in Tamil Nadu, and 40 priests and some leaders of Parisada Hindu Dharma from Bali also took part in the consecration ceremony.
A television crew from Tamil Nadu-based Sun Group, filmed the temple consecration ceremony and will be shown on the Sun Group’s new TV channel, Sun Life, which focuses on people, places, lifestyle and travel.
The channel director Leonard Valan said the consecration ceremony would be inserted as part of the channel programme on Hindu religious places of worship across the world, “Ullam Uruguthey.”
Lim said : “The state government is proud that the largest Murugan temple outside India should be sited in Penang, and believes that this fact demonstrates that freedom of worship is upheld in the state.
In welcoming Hindus to celebrate Thaipusam in this new temple Lim also extended an invitation to MIC president G Palanivel to attend the inaugural Thaipusam celebration that would be held next year. Palanivel accepted the invitation.
Lim also thanked Palanivel for the latter’s contribution and presence at the consecration ceremony.

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