Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sites : Penang Waterfall Arulmigu Indian Temple

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                        Footsteps - Jotaro's Travels                       
George Town, Penang, Malaysia - June 2014
Whenever I am in Penang Island and pass by the Gottlieb Road/Waterfall Road area, I would look up at the hill side of Penang Hill and notice this yellowish Indian temple on it's lower slopes. It did not look like a great piece of architecture, but all the same its location there made me curious. So on a trip up to Penang of late, I decided to cycle there and have a look to satisfy my curiosity; and Oh my! Was my curiosity more than satisfied! It was much more than it looked.

The entrance to the temple is through a simple gate from Waterfall Road (now called Jalan Kebun Bunga). It's slightly opposite the Nattukotai Chettiar Temple, just after the Persiaran Kuari junction that leads to the Penang Youth Park.

At the bottom of the hill is a smaller temple called the Arulmigu Sree Ganeshear Temple dedicated to Ganesh. It is most thoughtful of the temple committee to have this lower temple that is accessible by car so that the old, infirm and the weak can still come give their salutations and prayers.

Front view of the lower temple.

A peep into the lower temple.

Elaborate carvings of Hindu deities adorn the roof of this temple.

A close up view of a roof niche with a stone carving of the god Ganesh.

Night view of the Lower Temple.

A series of steps leads up to the Hilltop Temple. With 513 steps totalling approximately 260 feet, it is like climbing a twenty-two storey building. By comparison, the Batu Caves Temple in Kuala Lumpur has only 272 steps. It's going to be a long climb up, giving time for individuals to contemplate on their spirituality with each step up.

No shoes are allowed beyond this point. A devotee explained that other than showing respect and keeping the stairs clean, being bare-footed means one is in direct contact with the Earth - being in direct contact with the elements and God.

About a third of the way up, there is a shrine with a large statue of the deity Shiva.

Spaced along the way up are signs with quotations that are very apt as one climbs up.

Looking down, I see the Lower Temple with dusk setting in the backdrop. I pause to look at this surrealistic view and took a moment for some self reflection.

Another quotation to ponder upon.

Looking up, I see the spire of the Hilltop Temple shining brightly and colourfully. I am almost there.

The Hill-top Temple is called the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple.

This Hill-top Temple sits on three levels. The lowest deck seems to be private quarters, etc and I don't think it's accessible to the public. The middle deck is a large platform probably for congregation during festivals; it is from here that one can get a good view of George Town's city skyline. The top deck is where the proper temple stands.

A flight of wide steps lead from the middle deck up to the temple deck.

 On both side balusters are statues of "Lion" guards with their long tongue sticking out to act as handrails.

Before we go into the main temple, a look around the top platform first. To the right can be seen two shrines; one sitting atop a column and another under construction and almost completed.

Close up view of the shrine on top of a column.

The shrine under construction.

The multi-tiered spire over the main entrance. It's colourfully lit up, with each tier having statues of Indian deities.

A niche over the main door houses an Indian deity, from here he overlooks and guard the whole temple complex.

On each side of the main door way stands giant temple guard statues, each more than ten feet tall.

The bottom of the large main door jambs are carvings of female Indian dancers.
Okay, we are ready to go inside now.

A panoramic view of the inside of the hill-top temple.
While the hill-top temple (officially called the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple) viewed from afar may look intriguing but yet not that grand; the inside of the temple is of opulence splendour. Elaborate white marble columns hold up a ceiling decorated with colourful round centrepieces. The floor is of light brown marble with black square inlays.

At the centre is an alcove where Lord Murugan's statue is placed at an altar for devotees to pray to. In front of the altar is an elaborate golden column. On the two sides are alcoves for other deities.

 A look at one of the beautifully carved columns. The colours inside the temple is minimalist, of a white and light brown shades.

Tassels hanging from the corners of the columns add some colour to the overall ambience.

A close-up of a column capital shows the amount of fine craftsmanship that has gone into making of the elaborate tiers and cornices. Stone white lions sits atop each face of the columns.

The column bases are similarly finely crafted with much attention paid to details.

Colourful centrepieces decorate the middle of each section of the ceiling. The one above is of blue lilies with red roses.

View of the Lilies ceiling from the bottom.

Bottom view of a Red Lotus Flower ceiling centrepiece with the chandelier lit up.

Blue/Red Daisies ceiling centrepiece.

Blue Morning Glories ceiling centrepiece.

A Golden Sunflower ceiling centrepiece.

A Cobra Heads ceiling centrepiece.

Red Rose & Violets ceiling centrepiece.

Green Lily Leaves ceiling centrepiece.

An interesting looking window security grille with a peacock design.

Above some of the doorways are small altars with figurines of Indian deities.
It's time to leave...

Click to see YouTube video of the Penang Waterfall Arulmigu Indian Temple.

But before that, a a look at the scenic view of Gurney Drive and George Town City from the middle deck.

The way down is another set of steps to the left of the temple.

On the way down an quotation that's appropriate for the 513 steps climb up and for life itself.
Yes, it was worth every step!

The way down lead closer to the shrine to Shiva; another stairs lead to this shrine.

A look at the large statue of Shiva, it is almost twenty feet tall.

The daily prayer times for both temple are posted on a signboard.
For a more in-depth article of this temple see Penang Travel Tips.

Jalan Kebun Bunga, George Town, Penang, Malaysia.
GPS: 5.433776,100.295889
Opening Times:
1. Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple : 6:00 am - 12:01 noon & 4:30 pm - 9:01 pm.
2. Arulmigu Sree Ganeshear Temple : 6:00 am - 12:01 noon & 4:30 pm - 8:31 pm.

View Penang Waterfall Arulmigu Balathandayuthapan Indian Temple in a larger map

Related / Similar Blogs :

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To the locals, this is the temple after which Tanjung Tokong is named after; Tanjung Tokong, Penang.

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps / Malaysia 2014 - Sites / Penang Waterfall Arulmigu Indian Temple
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  1. Well undoubtedly a nice and peaceful temple. !!
    I live in Hyderabad and will surely try to reach at this temple and I would like to share some of the most famous 10 things about my city which you should know. !!

    1. Hi Yatisha,
      Many thanks for reading my blogs.
      And also for sharing about your city Hyderabad.
      I do hope I will be able to visit one day.