Photo: The entrance to Sri Poyatha Venayagar Moorthi Temple.

Sri Poyatha Venayagar Moorthi Temple

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Sri Poyatha Venayagar Moorthi Temple is one of the few existing Chetti temples in the country and, built in 1781, possibly the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia. Like the Straits Chinese, another of Melaka’s Peranakan groups is the Chetti, made up of predominantly Indian Tamils intermarried with Malay. Melaka’s Chetti community have largely assimilated into the Malay culture, but remain Hindu.





The simple pagoda above the entrance to the temple lacks the rich embellishment of the gopura in other Hindu temples, with each tier depicting but one deity, however the bright coloured paintwork makes it hard to miss. Elephant-headed Ganesh is the main deity worshipped at the temple (known here as Venayagar). Notice the garland of mango leaves above the door, believed to absorb negative energy of anyone entering. Enter the modest temple into a central tiled hallway leading to the back room displaying a garland- and neon-light-festooned statue of Ganesh.

Into... well, the opposite of temptation. Photo taken in or around Sri Poyatha Venayagar Moorthi Temple, Melaka, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

Into... well, the opposite of temptation. Photo: Sally Arnold

Visitors are welcome but the temple is closed outside of prayer time. Take off your shoes before entering. Several colourful unique Chetti festivals are celebrated throughout the year including Masimugam, dubbed a “Melakan version of Thaipusam”, which takes place in February or March and sees a 10-kilometre procession to Batu Berendam beginning at the temple.

Be sure to visit the other historic places of worship in the “street of harmony”—Chinese Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and Kampung Kling Mosque. Learn more about Melaka’s Chetti community at Kampung ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Sri Poyatha Venayagar Moorthi Temple
Jalan Tukang Emas, Melaka
Prayer times 07:00–11:30, 18:00–21:00.
Admission: Free

Location map for Sri Poyatha Venayagar Moorthi Temple

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