New Hindu temple ‘Masterpiece in Borneo’ a new landmark, tourist attraction 

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KUCHING, Jan 20: The new Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu temple located at Jalan Rock here is expected to become a significant landmark and tourist attraction in the state capital, upon completion in August 2021.

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Association Kuching president Shankar Ram believed that the new temple, dubbed as the Hindu Masterpiece in Borneo, will become the pride of the Hindu community.

“Now, we can come out with a very beautiful temple that will become the pride for all of us in Borneo.

“There are a lot of Indians who came here, from Indonesia, India, Australia and the United States. If we have a good temple, you will see a lot of people coming here and it is also a tourist site.

“And we are given blessings to look after the holy rocks near this temple.We have been maintaining the rocks and we will clean it up and do something that is special as tourism is strong and there is heritage for it,” he said at the earth-breaking of the rebuilding of the Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu temple project here today.

Shankar (third left) and wife Karishma Shankar Asnani (second left) hold a plate containing material for offerings as part of the earth breaking ceremony for the new temple.

Shankar added that the new place of worship will be the tallest for the Hindu community in Sarawak with the tower as high as a six-storey building.

He also expressed gratitude to the Sarawak government for its generosity, after Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg approved a RM2.3 million allocation for the building under the Unit for Other Religion (Unifor).

He added that Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian was also instrumental in supporting the setting up of the new temple.

Meanwhile, the early morning drizzle did not dampen the excitement of Hindu devotees and others attending the blessing ceremony for the earth-breaking event.

More than 200 Hindu worshippers braved the drizzle as early 8:30am to attend the event, which started at 9:30am.

More turned up as the rain got heavier to witness the special occasion which lasted three hours.

A devotee passing his valuable contribution to Karishma Shankar Asnani (second right) who later passed it to those putting the gold in the granite box which will be buried under the temple.

Christopher McGinn from Toronto, Canada, was amazed at what he saw during the ceremony.

“The celebration of Bhoomi Poojai here is very nice and I enjoyed it,” he told DayakDaily.

McGinnn, who was visiting Kuching for the first time, said he planned to also visit nearby towns such as Serian to learn about the local culture.

Shankar (kneeling right) touching the bricks as part of the blessing to symbolise the earth-breaking ceremony. Also seen is Dr Sim (second right) and Karishma Shankar Asnani (back row, right)

The ceremony started with prayers recitals by the temple’s priest, as well as offerings to God by religious leaders as part of the celebration.

The ritual is considered the most important phase of a temple’s construction where prayers are performed to appease Bhoomi Devi, a Hindu earth goddess for positive energy to be restored to the land and pave the way for a smooth building construction.

Religious leaders placed sanctified bricks while devotees were invited to donate their coins and precious belongings to form the foundation of the new temple that will last for many generations.

Some devotees also donated their gold valuables to put in a granite box which was buried under the new temple to set a strong foundation for the building.

The valuables which were placed in the granite box was later covered with fine cloth and garlands. The granite box was then sealed and buried at the site of the new temple.

Before the ceremony ended, a religious leader sprinkled holy water on devotees as a sign of blessing and prosperity. — DayakDaily