Experience Spirituality at Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple, Johor
Have you ever seen a temple that is made of glass?
If not, why don’t you visit the world renowned and popular landmark in Johor Bahru, Malaysia?
The Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple is a sight to behold.
It is a temple with a difference that offers one a great opportunity for reflection, spiritual nourishment or simply an appreciation of the amazing architectural design which is appealing and attracts a large number of visitors from far and wide.
You can experience a real spiritual awakening by discovering the secrets that not only abound in the temple but also the rich history that created this temple.
In this article, you will get to know about:
How To Get To Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple
It is very easy to get to this temple which is located in a central position in town and therefore easily accessible to both the locals and visitors coming from other countries including Singapore.
The location address is 22 Lorong 1, Jalan Tebrau, Johor Bahru which is accessible through Jalan Tun Abdul Razak and the lane adjacent to Gim Shew Building.
The most convenient way of reaching the temple is by road and the best choice of transport should be the private taxi.
SGMYTAXI is the leading company in Singapore and Johor Bahru and offers such services. It offers flawless services as all its vehicles are well maintained and driven by experienced drivers who are conversant with all these routes.
You don’t have to alight at the customs and immigration points to line up for processing. All this will be done while you are inside the car. The best choice of transport should therefore be SGMYTAXI.
This temple started out as a simple shelter on a land area that was donated by the Sultan of Johor in 1922.
It has withstood the test of time until it was later rebuilt in 1991 through the efforts and initiatives of its current chairman and chief priest who is known as Sri Sinnatham by Sivasamy who is considered as the driving force in the development and management of this temple.
Also read: 16 Historical Places In Johor Bahru
Earlier on, he had inherited the administration of the temple from his father and had vowed to rebuild it upon inheriting it. At the time, the temple was a humble hut that the chief priest worked on until it was completely rebuilt and officially opened in 1996.
The Guru, as he is popularly known, stumbled upon the inspiration to rebuild the temple in one of his various sojourns across the world. This was a trip to Bangkok. He was in a tuk tuk (auto-rickshaw) when he saw a light whose brilliance was like that of a diamond a few kilometers away from where he was.
He was informed by the driver that source of the light was a temple and when he went near he found that the light actually was from a glass artwork at the temple entrance which had caught his eyes.
He was amazed at how such a small piece of artwork could catch his attention at such a distance. This is what inspired him to use the technique in the rebuilding of the temple’s glassworks. He believed that a temple fully decorated with attractive glass work will be able to attract devotees as well as visitors from around the world.
The complete transformation work on the temple, especially the glass fittings, began in 2008 and was completed a year later in 2009. From that time till now it has become the nation’s number one spiritual tourist attraction site.
2.0 The Architecture
The temple has a series of chandeliers that play with the light in a magical way and makes the temple look really magical. Light is reflected in various areas including the pillars, the doors, walls and ceilings.
Nearly the whole temple is embellished with an array of about 30,000 pieces of glass of various shades and colors. The colors range from blue, to green, red, yellow, purple or any other color that you can think of is found here because the mixture of colors will always create new colors. This makes the temple to be truly colorful.
The Athma Lingam sanctuary which is a lotus for Lord Shiva is the centerpiece in this temple in terms of architecture and also as a place where many devotees will be found performing their prayers by pouring rose water. It is said that this sanctuary, which is very captivating, is the first in Malaysia to be designed in such a way.
The walls are fully covered with beautiful beads known as Rudraksha originating from Nepal. The wall’s texture appears as if it is embossed and this makes it stand in terms of its design.
The Nepalese beads are attached to the wall with a prayer. The temple is fully air conditioned and has cafes which serve vegetarian food for special events including a functions hall which is found is to be found at the adjoining building.
The temple has also quite a number of sculptures in its stead. The most evident one being the ones that are to be found around the ceiling area of the temple. One of the sculptures appears to be lying down and the other one seem to be in a crawling position.
There is yet another sculpture which is in a reclining position. These sculptures have significance and are symbols that represent the cycle of life which is a basic tenet in Hinduism.
The cycle is from birth to youth stage then to adulthood, old age and eventually death. This is a basic principle in Hindi about life and how its cycle changes. There are also ten marble statues that are white in color which stand at approximately 12 centimeters tall.
These statues have names which can be easily read from the plaque. These statues represent the figures of Gautama Buddha, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Sai Baba and Mother Teresa. The Guru explains that these figures and the persons they represent are messengers of God that also make visitors from other faiths happy.
The temple is also decorated with murals, for instance on the left wing of the temple where you will find two large panels on the ceilings which have been painted by artists who have been specifically commissioned to do the work to convey a universal message on social and racial harmony.
There is also a picture with a Hindu motorcyclist being helped up on his feet by a Muslim after falling off from his bike. A Buddhist is seen picking up his helmet and a Christian lifting up the motor cycle.
In another picture, a cow is seen beside an Indian girl, a dog beside a Chinese girl and a Malay girl is seen holding a cat in her hands.
How to Show Respect to A Hindu Temple as A Visitor
If you are a visitor to Hindu religious places, it is good to familiarize yourself with the various etiquettes that you are expected to observe in order for you to have a smooth and dignified visit.
The Hindu religion has many deities, if you find yourself anywhere near one of them and you plan to make a visit, here are some of the things you should consider that will make your visit free and pleasant without experiencing too many inhibitions.
- Be clean – Before you plan to visit a temple, it is advisable to take a shower and wear clean clothes. Everyone is permitted inside the temple. There are no catechisms; the only things that the Hindu observes are simple social matters which will not give you any problem to observe.
- Buy offerings , if need be – The deities can be offered many things such as flowers, sweets, clothes, coconuts, fruits and many other things. It is a kind of respect and it is believed that this action pleases God and he showers us with blessings when we pray. It does not matter if it is a superstition or faith, many people will usually come up with various sorts of gifts to offer to the deities. It is not compulsory to do so. you do so at your own wish.
- Remove footwear outside the temple – Many temples have special places which have been reserved for storing shoe and foot wear of devotees who come to worship inside the temple. You can keep wearing your socks unless the floor is slippery and you want to remove your socks. Removing of shoes, sandals or any other footwear is mandatory rule in any Hindu temple.
- Get a close view of the idol – It is good to observe a Hindu practice about the queue for ‘darshan’ or the act to see the idol. The queues can be divided between the men and women. This practice must be adhered to, so it is important to know.
- Offerings – If you have come with some offerings for the deities place it in the hand of the priest sitting outside the idol room. Never attempt to enter the inner chamber or the chamber where you will find the idol. These areas are considered sacred and private and should never be entered unless sanctioned. If you are given anything by the priest accept it with your right hand not the left hand, even if you are left handed. Generally ‘Prasad’ is given out by the priest which is something edible to eat that is considered blessed. It should be eaten outside the temple.
- Respect and worship – Once you get a close look at the idol; you can join the palms of your hand near your heart into a namaskar and then bow. This is the least you can do in terms of a gesture of respect. It is a matter of choice and you can ignore it if you don’t want to do it.
- Do not photograph – Photography is not allowed in many temples. You should be able to watch out for this rule wherever you are. It is sometime written outside on the common areas or notice boards. You may even ask around including the priest himself.
- Seek out beggars – You might find a number of beggars outside the temple, you don’t have to give them cash if you do not want. However, if you want to help them for that particular time buy them some food or donate in kind. If given cash they might spend it in other ways such as tobacco, liquor and gambling.
- Avoid indecent clothing – Do not visit a temple in revealing clothing such as short skirts and shorts tank tops. These might be unwelcome attire in some temple or shrine room settings. Shoes and hats are also to be removed.
Fast Tips When You Are Inside The Shrine
There are some small things that you should observe once you’re inside the shrine. These things include
- Always move along the right side in temples as it shows deep reverence for the Buddha.
- When the crowd is big, visitors should move away from the doors to make traffic flow.
- When the laity is prostrating, avoid distracting activities like walking and movements.
- Dharma materials dharma books and puja texts should not be dropped on floors or where people sit but on a table or cushion.
- Dharma items used by the Sanghas are confidential and can only be used by them. You should be kind enough to obtain permission before using them.
- Speak in low tones when you are in the shrine or around its vicinity because some people are doing silent sitting.