Batu Gajah temple devotees set up computer room for public use

A committee member of the temple showing how to use a laptop at the computer room.

IPOH: The Sri Maha Mariamman Devotees Association in Batu Gajah has set up a computer room for anyone to use, especially students.

Association president P. Velmurugan said the room will be officially opened on Tuesday (April 23) in conjunction with the Chitra Pournami festival.

He said the facilities will include laptops, a printer and free internet.

“Many school, college and university students cannot afford computers, and those who have such equipment find it hard to print out their work.

“It is not cheap for some to print their assignments, so we decided to provide this service, especially for the needy,” he said on Sunday (April 21).

The 117-year-old temple is about 500m away from the famed Kellie’s Castle and was only a shrine before Scottish planter William Kellie-Smith expanded it in 1907.

The temple committee also published a book in four languages two years ago paying tribute to Kellie-Smith.

The Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Batu Gajah.The Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Batu Gajah.

Velmurugan said the room was situated outside the temple.

“The committee members forked out their own money to set it up. It will be open from 7am to 10pm daily," he said.

Velmurugan believed that the temple was the first to come up with such an initiative.

“We have been helping the needy without looking at race and religion all this while by providing daily necessities, or any other help that they require. Those wishing to use the facilities can call me at 014-9441527,” he added.

There is a statue of Kellie-Smith on the roof of the temple alongside statues of Hindu gods and goddesses.

On how the temple is connected to Kellie-Smith, Velmurugan said the planter had noticed devotees praying at a little shrine at his Kellas Estate when he passed by daily.

When he asked them what they were doing, they said they were praying to Goddess Mariamman (Amma), as she was known to grant wishes.

He then prayed for a child and his prayers were answered, Velmurugan said.

“Overjoyed, and as a show of gratitude to the goddess, Kellie-Smith instructed the workers to stop work at the castle and ordered them to start building a temple instead, a promise he had made to Amma.

“A 500m underground tunnel was built to connect the castle and the temple to make it easier for his family to visit for prayers,” he said in an earlier interview.

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