Temples: Places of worship or tourist draws?

I view the media statement attributed to former MIC president, S Samy Vellu, on the construction of the new Sri Lalithambikai Alayam temple in Presint 20, Putrajaya with deep concern. A cursory look at the artist impression of the temple suggests a very Northern Indian temple design.

The RM10 million temple to be built with public funds aims to be a major tourist attraction although the temple’s promoters would like us to believe that it would serve many Hindu worshippers in the  area.

I’m also saddened by this development because Putrajaya and Cyberjaya were carved out of several  estates in the area, resulting in many Hindus having to resettle in unconducive environments far away from the place where they and their children had lived for decades.

Many of the estate temples, all of them constructed according to the format of the temples in Southern India had to make way for development.

Samy Vellu is rubbing salt to the wound now. Basically, genuine worship had to give way to  development’ and in its place emerges a plastic tourist attraction for a temple. The loud message is economics determines your right to worship in the temple of your choice!

Samy Vellu and his cohorts should focus on the many real challenges facing Hindus in this country  like the lack of religious teachers, well trained temple priests and the difficulty posed by the immigration authorities in sourcing these skills from India.

Instead, he chooses to add one more white elephant in Putrajaya in the form of a temple for tourists.

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