Cuisine in Melaka


Barsi celebration for revered local Sikh saint in Malacca

By Hanis Maketab |

MALACCA: More than 50,000 worshippers gathered at the Gurdwara Sahib Malacca here today to commemorate the 41st anniversary of Sant Baba Sohan Singh Ji’s death, which took place May 24-26.

Also known as “Barsi”, the celebration is the largest Sikh event in the world outside Punjab, with Sikhs from as far as Europe, Australia and the United States making the annual pilgrimage here.
During Barsi, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Holy Book) will be recited from start to finish, which normally takes three days and two nights to complete.

Barsi 2013 organising chairman Datuk Dr Mahinder Singh said about 10 per cent of the visitors who came for the event annually, were foreigners.

“The event is not only for Sikhs – we welcome anyone who would like to join in the celebrations and learn more about the Sikh religion and culture,” he said. 

People of various races and religions were seen donning the traditional headscarves and took off their shoes as a sign of respect while in certain areas of the temple.

The late Sant Sohan Singh was an eminent Sikh priest who was born in Punjab in 1902.
He dedicated his life to spreading Sikhism in Malaysia and Singapore and was declared a saint after his death in Malacca in 1972.

Cuisine in Melaka


Sunday December 16, 2012

Portuguese Settlement folk finally get a chapel

Christmas cheer: Residents of the Portuguese Settlement can finally hold their Christmas Eve mass in their very own chapel at the village in Ujong Pasir, Malacca.

MALACCA: After five years of waiting, about 1,400 residents of the Portuguese Settlement in Ujong Pasir here can finally look forward to holding their Christmas Eve mass in their very own chapel at the village.

Village Regedor (headman) Peter Thomas Gomes was thankful that the chapel was finally ready for use by the community members here.

“The construction work was completed late last year and the priest spent some time designing the altar while we were busy furnishing the chapel.

“All work was done by February and we have been holding weekly mass services there since,” he said after attending the Wanita Barisan Nasional Christmas celebration at the village yesterday.

Also present were Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Wanita MCA chief Datuk Yu Chok Tow, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and several other state women leaders.

The community had previously sought funds to build a church at the village.

The chapel has a seating capacity of 450.
The request was approved by the Government and included in the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

During the national-level Christmas celebrations at the village two years ago, Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim personally delivered a RM480,000 cheque to the village to convert a hall into a chapel.

The chapel which has a seating capacity of 450 is named Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception.

“The chapel project was completed with prudent spending monitored by the village committee,” said Gomes.

He said more than 1,000 villagers and their families were expected to gather at and around the chapel on Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile, Mohd Ali said the completion of the chapel marked a significant achievement for the village which was set up some 80 years ago.

“This is another good example of the Government giving priority to what the people need,” he said.

Wonderful Malaysia

Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Georgetown

Situated right in the middle of Penang’s Little India in the city of Georgetown is the Sri Mahamariamman temple, a truly amazing architecture that delivers a sight filled with culture and heritage.

Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Georgetown, Penang 1

The Sri Mahamariamman temple dates back to the year 1801 and is known to be one of the most popular altar and spiritual worship entities in the country. Back then, the Sri Mahamariamman temple was constructed after the Indian community realised a need for a proper temple ground to worship the gods. The number of devotees had increased each year, leading to a lack of space for them to perform prayers and rites. After much extension and refurbishment, the original temple was fully completed in 1833 where it still stands erect today close to two centuries since its building.

Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Georgetown, Penang 2

The beauty of the Sri Mahamariamman temple is the elaborated art work, known as gopuram, plastered around the building. Every piece of art work was made by the hands of Southern India’s finest and the best artists. Other parts of the temple is also decorated with various Hindu deities, sacred animals and colourful and eye catching architecture, making it one of the best and most stunning temples in Penang island.

Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Georgetown, Penang 3

Subramaniam, Durga, and Ganapathy are just some of the beautiful deities that are worshipped here in the Sri Mahamariamman temple. All the sculptures clearly show the magnificent workmanship of the artists. There are also some exclusive statues which have gold, diamond and emerald finery mounted on it, such as the statue of Lord Subramaniam.

Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Georgetown, Penang 4

Prayers usually take place in the early morning, so if you would like to observe how the temple priests conduct the prayers, do drop by the temple in the early morning. However, make sure you adhere to the unwritten rules of the temple or any other house of worship. You will first need to obtain the permission of the elder priest before entering the temple. Do not attempt to sneak in as it is not polite and you might even offend the gods. Also, remember to take off your shoes before entry.

Opening hours

Known also by other names such as Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple and Sri Arulmigu Mahamariamman Temple, the Sri Mariamman Temple is open every day from 8.00am to 12.00pm The temple is closed for a break of several hours and you are welcome to resume your visit at 4.30pm to 9.00pm

Entrance fees

Entrance to the temple is free of charge. Visitors are not allowed in with their shoes on.

How to get to the Sri Mahamariamman Temple

The temple is located in the center of Georgetown on Lebuh Queen (Queen Street) in the Little Indian area. The back entrance is on Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling (Pitt Street), in between Lebuh Pasar and Lebuh Chulia. To visit this lovely temple from Kuala Lumpur, you will need to make your way to the island of Penang either by road or by air. The journey by road will take you between 3-4 hours depending on your speed while one of the flights available daily will take you only 50 minutes. However, if you are already in Penang, make your way to Jalan Masjid Kapitan Kling (Lebuh Pitt) which the temple sits on. The road lies in between Lebuh Pasar and Lebuh Chulia, two of the most popular streets in Penang, so you’d wouldn’t have trouble finding this structure rich in culture and arts.

Video Sri Mahamariamman Temple

Map of the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Georgetown


Got any good tips to share with us? Do you know of any great things to do in Penang, or tips on the best places to eat? Let us know by leaving a reply below!

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Cuisine in Melaka


MALACCA: A protem committee comprising local church members have jointly submitted a working paper and request for a RM400,000 grant to the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage to restore the Sacred Heart chapel at Jalan Tengkera.

Vice president of the Malacca Heritage Trust Michael Banerji said that if the ministry would approve the project, the chapel would serve as a venue for meetings and gatherings among the Catholic and Christian groups and also house a resource centre and library.

Banerji added that the working paper made explicit mention of the restored building not as a place of worship, but as a venue for meetings, gatherings and fellowships for the three major local Roman Catholic churches namely: St. Francis Xavier, St. Peter’s and St. Theresa’s, apart from other Christian denominational churches based in the state.

Falling into ruin: The old quaint Sacred Heart Chapel along Jalan Tengkera in Malacca.

The committee also proposed for part of the chapel to be used as a funeral parlour for Christian families who reside in apartments, flats and high-rise buildings in the vicinity where sites for wakes and memorial services are not available.

“We proposed for the restored premise managed by the state heritage trust. In this manner, local and foreign historians and other relevant professionals and experts can undertake research or studies there.”

The Sacred heart Chapel which is listed as a national heritage site, was built around the 1860s and came under the purview of St. Peter’s Church, the country’s oldest Roman Catholic Church established in 1710.

The chapel’s land was leased to the church for 99 years, expiring in 1960. The lease was later extended by a further ten years.

Since 1970, the late Father MJ Pintado the then parish priest of St. Peter’s, maintained correspondence with the local state authorities for lease extension on the grounds of the edifice being a place of worship.

However, the request was turned down and the church continue to pay a nominal sum as land rental.

The then state authorities also gave an assurance that the building would remain as a place to serve local Christians and Catholics, provided the specific area was not gazetted for future general development.

Tourism Malaysia

Valentine’s Day – The Day To Celebrate Love

Valentine Day - The Day To Celebrate Love

Everyone knows that Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 14th of February each year but does anyone know the history behind it? Yes it is about love but not just between couples, it can also be a day to celebrate with your family especially your parents but primarily it is still a day for lovers to show their affections for one another. In fact, during Valentine’s Day that fell on a leap year – women would be able to propose marriage to their lovers.

The day supposedly got its name from a saint, however there are several stories regarding the true identity of this particular person. The most popular version was that he was a priest that lived in the third century AD in Rome. It was believed that during this time Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage as he thought this made the soldiers weak. Saint Valentine thought this was an unfair act, so he decided to break the rules and helped those that wished to get married.

Unfortunately the emperor discovered what the priest was doing and sentenced him to death, while waiting for his sentence to be carried out he met and fell in love with the jailor’s blind daughter. It was believed that his love and belief in God was what cured the girl’s blindness. On 14th February when he was taken to be executed he sent the girl a love letter signed “from your Valentine’.

Another trivia about the history of Valentine’s Day is regarding what is to be believed the first ever Valentine’s message ever written, it was a poem from Charles Duke of Orleans to his wife in the year 1415. The duke was imprisoned in the Tower of London awaiting his execution after he was captured at the Battle of Agincourt.

These men waited until the final minute to acknowledge their love for their respective partners however you do not have to follow in their footsteps. In a way their deaths has made it possible for millions of people around the world to profess their love to one another.

Technology has made it even more possible for people to express the way they feel such as electronic cards that are sent through the email or even the use of text messages. However it seems that the preferred choice for many is still printed cards.

As time progressed not only were cards used to express one’s feelings but gifts were also used, traditionally it was the men that bought the women items such as the cliché heart shaped chocolates and flowers, usually red coloured roses. Again with modern times, this concept has evolved and now the men and women exchange gifts with one another and it can range from just about anything that the respective partner likes not just candy and flower.

Having said that Valentine’s Day should not be the only day that you show your partner how much you love them, that should be done all year round instead you can make this day more special compared to the other days.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all readers of this blog.

Valentines Day - The Day To Celebrate Love

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