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300,000 Devotees Attend Grand Temple Consecration Ceremony

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GEORGE TOWN, MALAYSIA, July 6, 2012 (nst.com): The Arulmigu Bala Thandayuthapani temple, touted to be the largest Lord Murugan temple of its kind outside of India, opened to some 300,000 people at its maha kumbabhishegam (grand consecration) ceremony held over three days at the temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga here, recently. Devotees braved the scorching heat and marched up the 512 steps of stairs as early as 7am to be part of the consecration rituals.

A kumbhabhishegam is an auspicious ritual that takes places every 12 years as required by Hindu tenets to invoke the divinity in the deities in the temple and to clean the temple of elements of impurity “acquired” during renovations or natural planetary influences. A team of 15 priests from India performed the consecration ceremony led by chief priest Dr. Sri Pitchai Gurukkal who later showered devotees with blessed water from the rooftop of the temple. As soon as the ceremony was over, the doors were then open to the public and hundreds packed the prayer hall to take part in pujas on the auspicious day.

The temple, commonly known as the Hilltop Temple, was built at a cost of approx. US$3.1 million and took five years to complete. With 512 steps, the temple has a longer staircase than the 272-step Batumalai Sri Subramaniar Swamy Devasthanam temple in Batu Caves, Selangor. Temple chairman P. Kuvena Raju said the new temple features were inspired from the South Indian Chola and Pallava eras, which date from 300 bce until the 13th century.

The temple’s star attraction is the 70 ft. seven-story gopuram, the monumental tower that acts as a gateway through the walls that surround the temple complex. Designed by well-known Indian architect Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati, there are six pillars placed along the path to the Lord Murugan’s shrine. They signify the six major Murugan temples around the world. The 226-year-old temple, which pre-dates the founding of Penang, is at the base of the waterfall at the Botanical Gardens.

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