The annual Thaipusam celebration in Penang culminates at the beautiful Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple. Every year, since 2017, two silver and gold chariots will make their way towards the temple in Waterfall Road.
Naturally, this attracts thousands of devotees as well as curious tourists. But on other days, the Hindu temple complex holds its own with fantastic architecture, verdant greenery and the distinction of being one of the largest Lord Murugan temples outside of India.
Affectionately known among Penangites as the Waterfall Hill Temple, this impressive venue is also famous among active locals. Since it is just a stone’s throw away from the Penang Botanic Gardens, many will make a detour here to climb up the temple during their morning and evening exercises (Note: Since this is an important place of worship, guests are advised to be respectful and dress appropriately).
A flight of over 500 stairs will bring visitors up to the main temple, with its seven-storey high gopuram (main tower). From the top, you will get a commanding view of the high rise buildings along Gurney Drive and the rest of the island.
Step within the prayer hall of the main temple and you will be greeted by an elaborately decorated interior.
There are several prayer sessions conducted throughout the day, with the evening one granting both devotees and visitors a beautiful view of the sun setting over the horizon.
Do note that the main temple’s opening hours are divided between two sessions: 6am to 12pm and 4.30pm to 9pm.
Within the temple complex are also many beautiful sculptures and smaller temples.
Located at the foot of the hill is a tall statue of Lord Shiva. There is also an aviary with peacocks and other birds.
If you are thinking of taking the bus, the temple is serviced by Rapid Penang Bus No. 10 from Weld Quay to the Botanical Garden.
Alternatively, drive down and tour the Botanic Gardens too. There are ample parking within the temple complex’s grounds.
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