THE Arulmigu Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Queen Street, Penang, will be in a hive of activity during the fifth Maha Kumbavishegam (consecration ceremony) on Sunday.
Prior to that, more than 20 priests will perform a three-day pooja starting Friday at the temple, believed to be one of the oldest in the country.
With the George Town Heritage Day celebrations on Thursday, some 50,000 devotees and tourists are expected to join the consecration ceremony.
The renovation of the temple which started two years ago at a cost of RM1.5mil was completed recently.
“The entire work was concentrated on restoring the temple rather than rebuilding it as it’s a class one heritage site,” said temple committee chairman Datuk N. Vasantharajan.
The restoration work has transformed the temple into a vibrant and colourful structure.
“Thirty re-sized concrete pillars were re-designed to reflect the heritage status of the temple.
“We put tempered glass with stainless steel frames at the walkways while the cement tiles were replaced with granites from Iran which cost RM140,000,” said Vasantharajan.
The other new additions, he added, were the new Vinayagar (elephant god), and the Lord Muruga statues with sculpture of 18 ‘Shaktis’ on the wall.
“The teakwood ‘Kodimaram’ (a flag pole) has a 22-carat gold-plated covering to reflect the ‘essence’ of the heritage structure.
“The most arduous task was to restore the wooden framework in the ceiling called ‘Raasi Katam’ (the nine planets carved on the wood), which is a 100 years old.
“The frame alone weighs at 390kg,” said Vasantharajan.
“We brought in 15 sculptors from India for the restoration work with the refurbishment done by local contractors,” he added.
The temple, commonly called Queen Street Mariamman Temple, had its first consecration in 1933 and the last one in 1998.