Devotees observe Thaipusam at century-old hilltop temple in Melaka

MELAKA: Dozens of devotees observed Thaipusam at a century-old hilltop temple dedicated to Lord Murugan in Simpang Bekok, about 50km from here.

The 49-year-old keeper of Sri Valli Thevasena Sri Subramaniar Temple, N. Nageswara Rao said some 150 devotees decided to fulfil their vow at the temple that is situated deep inside an oil-palm estate in Pondok Batang, Simpang Bekok in Jasin, here.

"The temple sits close to the borders of Johor, Negri Sembilan and Melaka.

"We had devotees from all three states who came to celebrate Thaipusam here," he said when met at the temple on Thursday (Jan 25).

Nageswara said the devotees had to drive on a laterite road and climb a steep hill to reach the temple's site.

He said the temple was built by a prominent Chettiar plantation owner by the name of "Mani" in 1904.

"He then sold the estate to another owner during the peak of the Communist insurgency in the early 1950s but the name of the plantation is still known as Mani estate.

"The new owner of the plantation decided to maintain the temple at the site," he said.

Nageswara said he has been taking care of the temple since he was 12 and his 21-year-old son N. Ramarao is currently helping him with the upkeep of the place of worship.

He also expressed hope that the state government can also place the temple as a part of tourist attractions for Hindu devotees.

Earlier, Melaka youth, sports and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) committee chairman V.P Shanmugam said lesser-known Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Murugan in the state were given more prominence during this Thaipusam celebration in conjunction with Visit Melaka Year 2024 (TMM2024).

He said the temples are Sri Bala Thandayuthabani in Tabong Naning, Alor Gajah and Sri Subramaniar Alayam in Serkam, Jasin.

“We got the blessing from Chief Minister (Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh) to promote Thaipusam at these two temples in rural Melaka.

“Thaipusam at these temples have long preserved its unique ceremonial rituals and traditions where it can complement the religious segment of TMM 2024,”he said.

Shanmugam said Thaipusam is a significant celebration in the state despite the minimal population of Hindus.

“Chief Minister intends to promote Melaka as a melting pot of cultural influences and Thaipusam can be also promoted as a tourist attraction,” he said.

The state Thaipusam was marked with local devotees thronging the Sri Subramaniar Devasthanam Temple in Batu Berendam here.

Shanmugam said Melaka exudes an eclectic charm with the existence of the earliest places of worship in the country such as the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Kampung Kling Mosque and Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple.

“We are also the home to the Gurdwara Sahib Temple, which attracts thousands of devotees during the anniversary of prominent preacher Sant Sohan Singh and various religious celebrations of Portuguese community.

“Hence, the religious segment is a crucial element in TMM 2024,” he said.

Shanmugam added that Thaipusam in the state is also observed by devotees from the local Chinese community.

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