Sri Mahamariamman Temple-Kuala Lumpur
K. Thamboosamy Pillai
The Sri Mahamariamman Temple was founded by K. Thamboosamy Pillai in 1873 and was initially used
as a private shrine by the Pillai family. The family threw the temple doors open to the public in
the late 1920s and eventually handed the management of the temple over to a board of trustees.
This is the oldest functioning Hindu temple in Malaysia. It is also reputed to be the richest in
The temple was originally sited somewhere near the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station. It
shifted to its present location along Jalan Tun H.S. Lee (next to KL's Chinatown) in 1885.
The initial attap structure was demolished in 1887 and a brick building was erected in its place.
That structure was demolished to make way for the current temple building which were completed in
1968. The impressive gateway to the temple, known as the gopuram, was completed in 1972. The new
temple was consecrated in 1973.
Built in the south Indian style, the temple most outstanding feature is the impressiven 5-tiered
gopuram (tower). It is the tallest structure in the temple. The dramatic 22.9m (75ft) high
pyramid-shaped gate tower is decorated with depictions of Hindu gods sculpted by artisans from
southern India. The chief sculptor was the late S. T. Muniappa from Tamil Nadu and is credited
for creating the 228 idols on the gopuram.
The Sri Mahamariamman Temple is managed by the Board of Management of Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
Devasthanam, which also manages the Batu Caves Sri Subramaniam Temple and the Kortumalai
Pillaiyar Temple. It also performs the role of Hindu Religious Consultant to the Government of
Malaysia in determining the Hindu yearly calendar.
The temple is particularly packed on Deepavali with devotees eager to offer their prayers on the
Also on the holy day of Thaipusam, thousands of devotees throng the temple at the wee hours of
the morning to start a long procession leading up to Batu Caves as a religious undertaking to
Lord Muruga. They carry containers containing milk as offering to Lord Muruga either by hand or
in huge decorated carriers on their shoulders called 'kavadi'.
View Larger Map