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Monday May 6, 2013

Consecration of Sakthi Temple in Bukit Rotan draws devotees from all around the country

BUKIT Rotan is a small township in rural Kuala Selangor. It is not known for anything much, simply being a place you pass en route to seeing the fireflies in Kampung Kuantan.

That was until last week when the place got itself a landmark that is already attracting thousands from around the country — a majestic Hindu temple that towers over almost all temples in the country.

The Sakthi Temple in Bukit Rotan, that rises in splendour just as kilometres of palm oil plantations come to an end, has become a special holy spot not just for the physical beauty of its structure but also because of the amount of work and dedication that went into it.

What started as a small shrine on Public Works Department land about 120 years ago, can now lay claim to being one of South-East Asia’s most significant Hindu monuments.

In reverence: Devotees attending the consecration of the Sakthi Temple (top) in Bukit Rotan recently. In reverence: Devotees attending the consecration of the Sakthi Temple (top) in Bukit Rotan recently.

It was 20 years in the planning and four years in the making. After almost a century of its existence — growing from a shrine to a regular-sized temple — the temple committee decided they wanted something special, thus began an amazing journey.

The first job was to raise funds. A total of RM12mil was raised. The Federal Government gave RM1.5mil, the Selangor government gave RM500,000. The rest was raised from the faithful around the country.

The Federal Government presented the committee a one-acre land some 100m away from the roadside, where the temple was earlier located. Later, the Selangor government gave them another acre of land surrounding the temple.

“We may have built a bigger temple had we known we were going to get another acre,” joked Krishan Ponnusamy, the committee’s head of publicity.

Already, it’s an impressive piece of work. The masonry and masons were brought in from many parts of India and many painstakingly worked on the details — which is what makes the temple special.

The details in the many intricate carvings around the building are breathtaking.

The consecration late last month was just as special as some 50,000 people crammed into the area, causing huge jams.

Around 100 priests from Malaysia and India were called to perform various rituals while 41 agni kundams (fire places for rituals) were lit.

His holiness Sri Om Shakti Narayani Amma from the Golden Temple in Vellore, India, was in attendance. Even the copious amounts of water used for the consecration was shipped in from the holy rivers in India.

It was a grand culmination of years of work.

In 2001, another sage from the Himalayas, Swami Athmanantha Saraswathi had set out on a mission with a holy man from Malaysia, Swami Ramesh Ananthagiri from Mentakab.

Together, the two went to 51 holy sites in India. One of the many stories in Hindu mythology tells of how the goddess Shakti performed self-immolation following an insult and an angry Lord Shiva went into a frenzied dance that cut through his consort’s body.

Shakti’s body parts then fell to earth in 51 various parts of ancient India.

These Shakti Peedams were the holy sites the two visited. They brought soil from these areas, complete with chakras — plates made of five metals and blessed in these places.

The soil now lie in 51 cavities under the main deity at the Bukit Rotan temple. Above each lies its own chakra. And above them all, lies an-other golden chakra that visited all 51 sites.

“I don’t think any temple in the world has soil and chakra from all 51 places,” said Swami Athmanatha.

“That is what makes this temple special.”

The swami added that one of the chakra was from Pakistan.

“As we were about to go there, Osama bin Laden was killed, And no Indian was allowed in. We had to get diplomatic help from Malaysia,” said the swami.

“It was difficult but we persevered.”

The result? A classically beautiful temple in the mould of ancient India that can now be Bukit Rotan’s claim to fame.

There’s more.

The committee is working on further beautifying the temple, with the construction of a 70-foot flagpole in the works.

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