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Saturday January 28, 2012

100,000 to throng temple

ABOUT 100,000 devotees are expected to attend the maha kumbabishegam (consecration ceremony) of the Sri Muniswarar Temple in Butterworth, Penang, which is believed to be one of the oldest temples in the country.

Devotees from as far as India, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand are expected to throng the temple on Jalan Baru, Prai, to witness the ceremony tomorrow.

Renovation work on the temple, believed to be built back in the 1800s, had started last February and completed middle of this month.

Temple chairman Datuk Dr K. Arunasalam said the temple dates back to the days of the East India Company.

“It was built by the first batch of Hindus who came from India with the East India Company more than a 100 years ago.

“The temple started as a small structure and had previously undergone consecration ceremonies in 1960, 1974 and 1990,” he said.

The consecration ceremony this time will be conducted by 47 priests from Malaysia and India, led by Vikas Rathna Dr Sivasri K. Pitchai Sivachariyar from Pillaiyarpatti, Tamil Nadu in South India.

Dr Arunasalam said the renovation was needed to accommodate the increasing number of devotees and to raise the level of the temple grounds after the level of Jalan Baru was raised.

“Besides the temple renovations, a double storey multi-purpose hall building incorporating a conference room which can accommodate 200 people with hi-tech sound system and projector was also built.

“Other additional features include a meeting room and a three-storey hostel building,” he said.

Dr Arunasalam said the renovation works cost RM4.4mil.

“The Federal Government contributed RM600,000 while we raised RM1.2mil from fundraising events. The temple also had its own funds of RM2mil,” he said.

Dr Arunasalam said devotees could buy the copper kalasams (containers) used in the prayers after the ceremony at RM101 each, while the kumbabhishegam souvenir magazine would be sold at RM20 each.

Devotees can also buy gold-plated pendants and silver-plated pendants which will be blessed during the prayers at RM51 and RM11 each respectively.

Dr Arunasalam said devotees could buy the items which are part of the fundraising efforts by the temple for the ceremony.

He also sought the co-operation from devotees to park their vehicles at designated areas on that day.

“We encourage devotees to car pool to reduce traffic congestion,” he added.

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