Kuala Lumpur in my opinion, doesn’t have the most interesting sights. The Petronas Towers are ok for two giant cucumbers, but nothing mind blowing. There’s a few mosques, some colonial history and a king’s palace. The reason I like KL, is that it serves it’s purpose as a convenient transit city. It’s a lot cheaper than Singapore so you can stay here and arrange things for the next part of your trip without breaking the piggy bank. The food is great, especially if you’ve just stepped off a flight from somewhere like the Philippines. You can spend hours aimlessly strolling around the posh shopping malls looking at things that you can’t ever afford or just go in and out of the hundreds of 7elevens to have a few seconds of air-con and escape the sweltering heat.
One interesting thing about Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia for that matter, is the high number of Malaysian Indians. The mostly Tamil people of Indian descent make up almost 8% of the population in Malaysia. The Indians and other south Asian people were brought here during the British times to work as plantation workers, traders, soldiers and of course, corner shop owners. Hence, the muddy estuary has a very multi cultural atmosphere and some areas, for example Dixon street, actually feel like you’re taking a walk down Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, although the smell of human excrement and sewage isn’t half as bad.
Tamils are predominantly Hindu, and what do you get where there are Hindus? Not a bunch of milfs stumbling around in fancy dress with the bride-to-be wearing an L plate around her neck, that would be a hen-do, I’m talking about temples.
When I pass through Kuala Lumpur, I always stay in a place close to a Hindu Temple named Sri Ganesar Court Hill, dedicated to the elephant god, Ganesha.
Ganesha is the protector, the god of wealth and prosperity, the deva of intellect and wisdom and the remover of obstacles. The previous high court was adjacent to this temple and back in the day, lawyers who had to represent clients would come to the temple and pray for a favourable outcome. The temple is said to be very powerful because it is built on a sloping moona muchandi (three adjoining corners). With that, this is the only temple in the world that performs conch shell prayers twice daily, where the chanting of Hindu mantras take place during the dressing and bathing of the idol Ganesha with spiritual water, this explained the clarion sound of trumpets and bells, along with some quite strange goings on, such as devotees setting fire to coconuts before smashing them on the road outside…
Does it all sound a bit daft? Get this, former colonist Wagner Durai who owned the land which the temple now stands, once asked to have the original statue removed as the temple bells were doing his head in. The day after his grumpy complaint, he suffered a paralytic stroke. It was only when his gardener was instructed by Lord Ganesha in a dream to sprinkle holy ash on Wagner’s legs he fully recovered and regained the ability to walk. Wagner converted to a devout Hindu and remained one until the day he died.
Hindus have 330 million gods, 330 million plus one if you include Sachin Tendulkar. The thought of these giant gods walking the earth may seem a little bit far-fetched or even pokemon-esque, but these paradoxes when examined closer can make more sense than what meets the eye. The court hill temple was facinating and got me wondering about Ganesha and why he has an elephant’s head. Hindu mythology can be very confusing indeed, so here is my simple, soap opera version about the birth of Ganesha.
Parvati is Ganesha’s mam, Parvati wanted to have a kid with Shiva, but Shiva didn’t want a kid, so he went out on the lash with his mates. Parvati went and impregnated herself anyway with some turmeric and Vinayaka was born without the intervention of man. The child was told by his mother to watch the oven while she took a bath and not let anyone in, which he did. Shiva returned after one too many Stellas and was refused into his own house by the boy, so he must have thought ‘Who’s this little mug having it away with my missus?!’ A furious Shiva proceeded to chin Vinayaka and cut off his head. Parvati needless to say was raging and claimed she would end her own existence if her son was not brought back to life. So Shiva told one of his mates who owed him a favour, to go out and bring him the head of the first living being he saw. The first thing he saw was a Mackem, a wild and unwashed one, so instead he brought back the head of the second living being he saw which was an elephant. Shiva placed the new head on the severed body of Parvati’s son and ressurected him, thus becoming the father of Ganesha. A few months later Parvati had an affair with his best friend and Shiva was killed in a car crash after a dramatic show down…
Believe it or not, the Sri Ganesha court hill temple provided a little bit of intrest to what would otherwise have been a boring visit to Kuala Lumpur. May I add, that it can’t be a coincidence that after visiting the temple I successfully jumped the LTR, was given too much change in 7eleven and found half a bar of dove soap in the hostel shower. The powers that be!
For More insight into Hindu mythology made slightly easier to understand check ‘Myth = Mithya’ by Dr Devdutt Pattanaik