An Architectural Wonder

21 November 2017

What started as a modest shrine for the rubber estate and road workers of Bukit Rotan can now lay claim to being one of Southeast Asia’s most significant Hindu monuments. We explore Sri Shakti Dhevasthanam Temple’s most prominent architectural features.

Before 2013, there wasn’t much going on for Bukit Rotan. A small township in rural Kuala Selangor, the town merely served as a transit point for tourists visiting the famed firefly farm in Kampung Kuantan.

At the time, not many knew of the anticipation stirring amongst the local Hindu community of Bukit Rotan, who waited for the last brick and concrete carving to be made on the newly soaring, white-marbled temple now known as the Sri Shakti Dhevasthanam Temple.

When Indian immigrants first set foot in Bukit Rotan more than a century ago, it was to clear the lands to make way for public utilities and rubber plantations. Here, they erected a small shrine that housed only a single oil lamp as their place of worship. This marked the conception of the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, which will later be known as the Sri Shakti Dhevasthanam Temple.

To the locals, the mammoth-size Sri Shakti Dhevasthanam reflected a growth in the town’s economic status. Sourcing for an alternative site to house a grander and larger complex, the temple took 11 years to build and was finally open in April 2013.

Encircled by a 13ft high and 250ft long decorated wall, the entrance to Sri Shakti Dhevasthanam is through a 74ft structure known as the Raja Gopuram – a term used to depict the ornate and monumental gatehouse tower found in many Dravidian-style temples across the world.

The entire temple is in fact built in accordance to the sacred Hindu Vedas and Aagamas. For instance, interspersed within the temple grounds are 96 carved pillars that depict the 96 universal principles of Hinduism, each carved and sculpted with a rare and complex technique known as the Thundu Pattirippu Pathroba Pathram.

From its ornate walls and intricate domes to its elaborate three-tiered Vimana Gopuram (principal tower), the temple is a study in fine detailed sculptural work rarely seen in Malaysia. The marriage of granite sculptures and wood carvings makes Sri Shakti Dhevasthanam Temple a unique beacon of Hindu architecture in Malaysia.

Address: Sri Shakti Dhevasthanam Temple, Jalan Kuala Selangor, Bukit Rotan, 45000 Bukit Rotan, Selangor.

Photos by Azwan Fakaruddin

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