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Wednesday July 15, 2009
BY DESIREE TRESA GASPER
JOHOR BARU: Imagine 300,000 pieces of finely cut coloured glass carefully placed together to create intricate designs. The sight will amaze any beholder.
And it exists at the Arulmigu Sri Raja Kaliamman Temple, known as the country’s first glass temple that is taking shape along Jalan Tebrau.
Temple president S. Sinathambhy, who is also an art teacher, said that so far RM2mil had been spent to renovate the 87-year-old temple.
He added that he conceptualised the design while riding in a motorised taxi (tuk tuk), during a trip to Bangkok.
“I saw something shimmering from afar and told the driver to take me towards the light.
“I finally came to a Buddhist temple that had a piece of glasswork at its entrance and I was amazed by the beauty of the piece,” he said.
Sinathambhy said he expanded on the idea to build a temple that would be fully embellished with coloured glass.
“I thought that having a temple filled with glasswork could attract many people,” he said. The 300,000 pieces of glasses on the Arulmigu temple consist of six colours, namely blue, red, yellow, green, purple and white.
Sinathambhy added that the temple was initially built in 1922 and needed a major makeover.
“I hired a few workers from Myanmar to help put up the glasswork,” he said, adding that he was involved in the design.
“It has not been easy since I started work on the project one year ago, and the current economic situation has made the task even more difficult,” he said.
Sinathambhy explained that the price of steel, glass and transportation charges had all increased over the past one year.
“We initially estimated the cost to be about RM1.5mil but it has since doubled,” he said. However, he was still hopeful of completing the project by October.
“I am thankful to all who donated. But there’s still more to do, such as installing the drainage and waterproofing system.
“The works are only partially completed but I am confident that this temple will be a major tourist attraction in the city,” he said.
Sinathambhy said the official opening of the temple had been set for Oct 25 and was expected to attract people from all over the world.
He added that he was especially grateful to the Sultan of Johor for giving the land to the temple.
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