Monday, 26 September 2011

Sri Aruloli Thirumurugan Temple, Penang Hill

During my last trip up Penang Hill with friends, I took some time off to visit the Sri Aruloli Thirumurugan Temple which was about 100 to 150 metres from the funicular train's upper station. The temple, which was dedicated to Sri Bala Muruga, was located on a small mound at the summit and accessible by a short flight of steps.

The temple's quite compact and visitors could walk freely around the spacious compound. Except for some parts of the external walls where the paint was peeling off, I was quite surprised that the building and statues were well maintained. I did go inside the temple to look around but it was generally too dark even for the camera's tiny in-built flash to illuminate adequately. Besides, it didn't help that the day was beastly hazy. Normally, we'd be able to see George Town from the summit but on that day, even the most optimistic visitor would be frustrated. Well, we were.

So except for one composite shot of the protectors of the temple's arthamandapam (antechamber), which housed the statue of Sri Bala Muruga, the rest of the photos here were snapped outside the temple building.

This is the statue of Sri Bala Muruga outside the temple. He is normally identified by the vel (spear) that can be seen in this picture. The blue peacock, Maragatha Mayil, is also a common feature of this deity.

And finally, there is this magnificent sculpture at the temple grounds. It's more for decoration, like the rest of the statues and scultures adorning the sides of and atop the temple's building but I've known of people praying to it. To the uninitiated, this may only look like a group of Hindu deities but actually, this is a representation of Hinduism's First Family of Deities.

The largest statue in the centre is that of Sri Shiva, one of the three most important gods of the Trimurti (Hindu Trinity). Beside Shiva is his consort, Sri Parvati. Sitting on Parvati's lap is Sri Bala Muruga, identified by his vel, and the one of the left with an elephant's head and four arms is Sri Bala Ganesha. Both Muruga and Ganesha are the sons of Shiva and Parvati. How Ganesha acquired the head of an elephant is a long story best left to another time to tell. 

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