They are often referred to as Nattukottai Chettiars to distinguish them from other groups of Chettiars. The term "Nattukottai Chettiars" means "people with palatial houses in the countryside". They are also referred to as "Nagarathars" meaning city dwellers, as they lived in a city called Poompuhar on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, a part of which went under the sea.
It was a practice for the Nattukottai chettiars to build Lord Murugan temples wherever they settled. This was the case in Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaya, Sri Lanka and Singapore. They had the advice of Sivachariars not to build any Sivan Temples as certain rituals had to be observed. As the Brahmin Sivachariars were prohibited from crossing the seas, they advised them to establish Lord Murugan Temples where non-Brahmin priests, the Pandarams, could be employed.
This does not mean that the Brahmin priests had not visited South East Asia before. Records show that there had been the priests at the Royal Courts of Thailand and Cambodia. The Hindu Traditional practice of reciting Thiruvempavai during the coronation of Thai kings bear testimony to this. No one is certain when and why the Sivachariars - the Tamil speaking Brahmin priests stopped coming to South East Asia.
By the third quarter of the 19th century things changed and the Brahmin priests in India, particularly Tamil Nadu became adventurous as the rest of the Indians and decided to seek their fortunes in Malaya and Singapore.
An estimated 100,000 people attend the Thaipusam festival at the temple, making it the largest festival and human gathering in Penang. It is also a leading tourist attraction.
Thaipusam is an annual religious event celebrated by Hindus to commemorate the victory of Lord Murugan over the demon, Tarakasuran. Devotees and penitents can seen bearing kavadis, and piercing their bodies with hooks and spears without seeming to cause any pain or harm as an act of faith and atonement.
The chariot procession begins on Thaipusam eve where the chariot together with Chettiar kavadis -- male chettiar carry a peacock feather yoke accompanying the silver chariot -- (different from body-piercing type of kavadis) departs Kovil Veedu(House Temple) on Penang Street, Georgetown in the morning ends here at night. They retreat to the chettinar for three days before accompanying the chariot back to town.
Contact Details :-
Waterfall Road, Penang.
Tel :- 04-2271322
Pooja Timings :-
Morning Abishegam :- 6.30 a.m.
Morning Pooja :- 7.30 a.m.
Noon Abishegam :- 11.30 a.m.
Noon Pooja :- 12.00 p.m.
Evening Abishegam :- 4.30 p.m.
Evening Pooja :- 5.30 p.m.
Night Abishegam :- 8.15 p.m.
Night Pooja :- 8.30 p.m.
Side View of the temple
Main Entrance of the temple
Beautiful drawings decorate the main entrance...
Beautiful chandeliers decorates the artistically laid roof...
Another view of the roof...
Pictures depicts farmers life can be found along the side of wall of the roof.
When moving around the temple, one can feel resemblance to typical chettiar houses in south india...