Last Updated on July 22, 2017 by Audrey Scott
Every morning and every evening, just down the block from our guest house in Kuala Lumpur, the local Hindu temple comes alive with the daily puja (prayer). Worshippers line up to break coconuts, families gather to share blessed meals, Hindu priests prepare to dress Ganesh, and the sadhu attempts to sell 3-D calendars sporting likenesses of Hindu gods.
Each time we pass, we are drawn in by it all. From every corner, to every corner, something beats with the pace and pulse of life. And if for a moment you begin to think “This is chaos,” you take a moment and realize there is something deliberate and purposeful in just about everything you see.
To us, it seems as if there's something new each time; we are attracted by the novel.
To those inside: they are drawn in by the familiar.
For them, this is their rhythm, their ritual.
Sri Ganesar Court Hill Hindu Temple does not appear in most guidebooks or maps. Outside of morning and evening prayer times, temple keepers busily prepare for the next ceremony by arranging coconuts, tying flowers, preparing milk, and cleaning every inch of the floor.
Although we stuck out like two sore thumbs (i.e., two white folks with bulging backpacks), everyone made us feel welcome and comfortable with their smiles, their nods, and the bits of conversation they offered. While walking around the temple, we really enjoyed the feeling of community.
So next time you happen to be in Kuala Lumpur near the Puduraya bus station, drop by the Hindu temple on Jalan Pudu Lama in the morning (4:30-9:30 AM) or evening (4-8:30 PM). And when you are finished soaking it all in, stop by the South Indian banana leaf restaurant next door for an incredible masala dosa.
5 thoughts on “Panorama of the Week: The Rhythm and Ritual of a Hindu Temple”
@Ruth: That’s exactly what strikes us about this scene and others like it. On one hand, it looks so exotic (if only you could smell it!). At the same time, this is everyday life — something quite ordinary for most of the people pictured in the panorama.
What is interesting about this panorama is how the people are dressed. Makes the place look very exotic.
I’m always a fan of your panoramas! They never fail to excite me.
My friend is from Persia and this kinda reminds me of some of the photos he took when he went home.
@Jaq: So glad to hear this! Just keep checking back each Monday as this is when we post new ones.
@Kirk: Interesting how this reminded you of your friend’s photos from Persia/Iran. I never really thought that Indian/Hindu and Persian/Muslim cultures were visually similar, but maybe they are more than I had thought. Will have to visit Iran to see.