If you’re in Jonker Street and want to get away from the crowd, drop by at the Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple, along Jalan Tukang Emas, which is just a stone’s throw away from the main Jonker Street.
Reason? it’s the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia on record. Built in the 18th century, precisely in 1781 on land provided by the Dutch colonial government, the temple has Lord Ganesha as its presiding deity.
It’s a small temple which you can visit in less than half an hour. Ten minutes if you want to take a quick look around.
The temple was originally built by the Chittys (Peranakan Indians) but is currently under the management of Chettiars ( a moneylending caste).
The Chiitys relocated from this location to Gajah Berang for economic reasons, giving up trading for agriculture.
There are three temples in the Gajah Berang Chitty Settlement, the famous being the 190-year-old Sri Maha Mariamman Temple. The other temples being the Sivan temple and the Sri Subramaniam Thuropathai Amman Alayam.
If you want to view more than the temple facade from street, visit it during the opening hours.
The temple also houses Lord Shiva, Lord Muruga, Goddess Meenakshi Amman, Lord Saneeswaran as well
At the entrance of the temple is a sitting area called thinnai or the front porch. This is a common part of the architecture of Tamil houses and temple. The tinnai is where you receive your neighbours and have tea and chat with your family members and friends. In India, the more wealthy you’re the more spacious your thinnai will be.
Thinnai is commonly found among temples run by the Nattukottai Chettiars. A case in point is the Sri Thandayuthapani Temple along Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur.
Other unique features you could see in the temple are an old, red sturdy donation box and an old well which is still in use employing a motorised pump to draw water.
The temple also has a ‘peranakan’ tile design, much different from other Hindu temples.
Open to Visitors
Non-Hindus are allowed to visit the temple and explore its interior during the temple opening hours. There are a few ‘rules’ to observe:
- Leave your footwear outside the temple.
- Wash your legs. Washing area is provided inside the temple.
- Visitors should be properly attired, especially females who should don clothes covering their knees and necklines.
- Photography is allowed in the temple
- Refrain from making noise in the temple even if a prayer session is not on.
- You should observe ‘these’ rules when visiting any other Hindu temples
Daily Temple Opening Hours:
Morning : 7.30am – 11.30am
Evening : 6.00pm – 9.00pm