The Sri Mariamman Temple (Tamil: ஸ்ரீ மாரியம்மன் கோவில) is the oldest Hindu temple in Penang built in 1883 which decorated in the colourful and unique South Indian Dravidian style. It is also known as Maha Mariamman Temple or Queen Street Indian Temple.
The land was granted in 1801 by the British to Betty Lingam Chetty, who was then the Kapitan (Headman, Kepala or Community Leader) of the Tamils and South Indians. From its beginning, the temple provided an important place of worship for early Indian immigrants and is now an important cultural and national heritage.
The most outstanding feature is the impressive gopuram (tower), 23 feet which features fascinating sculptures of Hindu deities, soldiers and floral decorations over its main entrance and facade. Also the 38 statues of Gods and Goddesses and four swans featuring the Hindu Goddess Mariamman in Her many incarnations surround the colorful four-tiered crown.
The interior of Sri Mariamman Temple is also decorated with various statues of Hindu deities especially the priceless statue of Lord Subramaniam (the much respected Hindu deity) which is embellished with gold, silver, diamonds and emeralds. The statue figures importantly in the annual Thaipusam festival when it is borne on a silver chariot though the city streets to the temple.
The main deity is a deity called Amman or Maha Mariamman, worshipped as the mother of the universe by Hindu devotees. The temple is particularly packed on Deepavali and Thaipusam with thousands of devotees keen to offer their prayers on the holy days. Once every 12 years, in keeping with Hindu tradition, the temple will be reconsecrated.
Prayers are usually conducted by the temple priests in the early morning and visitors may observe these prayer sessions taking place. If you wish to enter the Sri Mariamman temple, please ask permission from any of the priests and remember to remove your shoes before entering the temple grounds.
Opening hours: 8.00 am - 12.00 noon and 4.00 pm - 9.00 pm