Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the largest city of Malaysia. A former Chinese tin-mining village, KL, as it is popularly known, is now home to a diverse population of people belonging to different ethnicities including Malays, Chinese and Indians. Usually referred to as ‘a melting pot of cultures and traditions’, the city is home to some of the country’s well known religious sites. Read on to know more.
Thean Hou Temple
Located in Lorong Bellamy, Thean Hou Temple is one of the oldest and the largest temples in Kuala Lumpur. Officially opened in 1989, the 6-tiered temple is dedicated to Guan Yin, the Chinese goddess of Mercy. Featuring elements of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism, the popular temple is an ideal combination of modern architecture and traditional design. The prayer hall of the temple houses 3 different sculptures of the deity in various forms. Every year thousands of tourists visit the holy shrine to offer prayers to the goddess and seek her blessings.
Sin Sze Si Ya Temple
Located a few miles from Petaling Street, Sin Sze Si Ya Temple is the oldest Taoist structure in Kuala Lumpur. Built in 1864 by Kapitan Yap Ah Loy, the temple is dedicated to the deities of Sin Sze Ya and Si Sze Ya. Today the temple functions as a popular Chinese Cultural Centre in the city with thousands of devotees flocking around during the Chinese New Year. The two hanging carved panels, and several beautiful paintings and sculptures are among the popular attractions at the temple. Interestingly, most tourists visit the shrine for the famous ‘fortune telling sticks’ offered at the main entrance.
Chan See Shu Yuen Temple
Located in Jalan Petaling, Chan See Shu Yuen Temple is one of the oldest surviving Buddhist temples in Malaysia. Built between 1897 and 1906, the elaborate structure is known for featuring some of the most beautiful paintings and decorations dating back to the Buddhist Era. The interiors of the temple are packed with gold-painted lions, and dragons and other mythical creatures. The specially crafted terracotta frieze is one unique attraction of the temple.
Sri Mahamariamman Temple
Situated on the edge of the Chinatown, Sri Mahamariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur. Founded in 1873, the popular structure was built in the style of South Indian temple with the ornate ‘Raja Gopuram’ tower. The dramatic 75 ft tall temple is known for featuring a total of 228 idols on the gopuram along with the main prayer hall and a silver chariot. Every year on the occasion of Deepavali, the temple is packed with devotees offering prayers to the lord and seeking his blessings.
Sri Kandaswamy Kovil, Brickfields
Sri Kandaswamy Kovil is one of the most prominent Ceylonese temples in Kuala Lumpur. Built in 1902, the popular structure is dedicated to the Hindu deity, Lord Muruga. The beautifully crafted royal entrance (gopuram) is often referred to by the deities as the distinction between material and spiritual world. Photography and videography is strictly prohibited here.
Originally known as ‘National Museum’, Masjid Negara is a prominent religious site in Kuala Lumpur. Built between 1963 and 1965, the mosque is a symbol of Malaysia’s unity and multi-cultural harmony. Featuring a 73 meter high minaret and a 16 point concrete dome, the popular structure was constructed over a period of 3 years taking inspirations from popular mosques in India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and the UAE. The Grand Hall, with verses of Quran engraved, is undoubtedly the most beautiful part of the structure.