The History Behind Penang Waterfall Hill Temple 

  • 08 Feb 2020

Balathandayuthapani Temple is a small shrine at the base of the Penang Botanic Gardens Waterfall. According to popular belief, a sadhu (holy man) chose a spot close to the waterfalls for a shrine dedicated to Murugan. They worshipped the Vel (sacred spear) of Thanneermalaian (Lord Murugan's name). Thaneermalaian means "he who dwells at the waterfall", about Murugan and his shrine at the base of the waterfall.
The original Balathandayuthapani Temple was the main temple for the worship of Murugan until 1850 when it had to be relocated as the British administration took over the area to establish a reservoir. The temple was given an eleven-acre plot of land along the then Waterfall Road. The relocated temple, located at a perch overlooking George Town, was completed in 1850. 
Its hilltop location is one of the main destinations of devotees during the annual Thaipusam festival. The silver chariot procession begins from Kovil Veedu (Temple House) in Penang Street and travels along the roads of Georgetown before reaching the Waterfall Temple.

READ: What is Thaipusam?
Thaipusam then starts early the following day, when the Holy Vel is carried in procession from the Queen Street Maha Mariamman Temple and arrives at the Hill Top Temple to be venerated with a special pooja.

LEARN: Types Of Kavadi​

Thereafter, thousands of devotees carry kavadis and other offerings to Lord Balathandayuthapani as an act of penance for boons granted.
Those are the facts that most people know about Thaipusam in Penang – but here are some interesting ones about the Penang Waterfall Hill Temple that is bound to blow your mind!
Thaipusam Guide: Understand its Meaning and Rituals

# The Balathandayuthapani Temple held its Maha Kumbabishegam or consecration ceremony in 2012, which was attended by state leaders, in the presence of forty Hindu priests from the six main Murugan temples in South India, and another forty chief priests of temples in Bali.

Thaipusam Guide: How to Keep Your Children Safe?

# Waterfall Hill Temple’s art and sculptor works are credited to P.V Krishnamoorthy Stabathy, who himself has built more than 150 temples in Malaysia. 
# The Raja Gopuram, which is 7 levels high, is based on Chola architecture. Its main doors are made from Burmese teak and measure 18 feet x 11 feet and are 7 ½ inches thick.

#The temple pillars feature the 14th and 15th-century architectural styles of Chola and Pandya temple designs. They were made by artisans specially brought in from India.

#Devotees and visitors need to climb 513 steps to get to the temple, which makes the temple higher than the one in Batu Caves. Although this may sound like a daunting feat, the breathtaking view on top is worth the effort.
# All the doors of the temple were made in Trikadayur, Tamil Nadu.

# One of the temple’s unique features is its free-standing temple bell. The free-standing tower is also designed by P.V Krishnamoorthy Stabathy. The bell can be operated both mechanically and manually. 

#There are many other temples located in the surrounding of the Waterfall Hill Temple, including the Arulmigu Sree Ganeshar Temple at the foot of the stairways leading to the hilltop, the Edumban temple and also the Arulmigu Naganathar temple.

Astro Ulagam's Thaipusam 2020 LIVE is going to be bigger and better this year! Stay tuned with us from 5pm, 7th February to 10pm, 8th February 2020 (Msian Time) to get LIVE updates from temples across Malaysia. Visit for more info.​

Source: Penang Travel Tips & Astro Ulagam
Photo Credit: GoPenang, Penang Foodie, Pinterest, Youtube, TimeOut

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