Sri Kandaswamy Kovil, Brickfields - History


In British Malaya, the Ceylon Tamil population, who was then mostly employed in the railway industry, was mainly concentrated in Brickfields and Sentul because of the proximity of the Administrative Centre of the Malayan Railway (opposite the railway station) and the Sentul Workshop in Kuala Lumpur. The government provided accommodation for the white and the blue collar workers in these areas. The Ceylon Tamils living in both these areas were devout Saivites and, as they fervently believed that "no one should live in a place that has no Temple" they soon began to organize themselve into associations.

Temples and associations began to sprout in areas where there was a sizeable community. The railway staff residing in the Brickfields area, many of whom were students of Saiva Siddhanta Asiriar Sivapadasundaranar, an acknowledged follower of Sri Arumuga Navalar, felt an urgent need for a place of worship in accordance with the Saiva Agamas. They were anxious to have a temple to practise and observe the Saiva Siddhantha tenets and religious observances such as Viratham (fasting), Thithis (commemoration rituals), Punniyaahavaasam (purification ceremony), Kantha Sasthy and other observances and festivals.

With this in view, on 24 December 1890 a group of Ceylon Saivites met at the residence of V. Sinnapah, acting traffic inspector, Malayan Railway and an influential member of the Ceylon Tamil community. At that meeting it was decided

  • to build a temple to worship Lord Subramaniam; and
  • to purchase an appropriate land to build the temple.

The Sri Kandaswamy Temple was born on that December day.

The land between the closed end of the cul-de-sac of the present Jalan Scott and the Klang River was considered most appropriate for the proposed temple because of its central position and because the land was quite empty. It was purchased by the Selangor Ceylon Tamil Association in 1901 and the construction of the Kandaswamy temple commenced about the year 1902. The land title was originally registered in the name of V. Sinnappah. The first group of trustees was selected on 18 April 1903 to hold in trust the property purchased for the temple. On 18 July 1903 Sinnappah transferred the two lots of land registered in his name to the trustees.

A "Vel" was installed in the land by His Holiness Sri Murugaswamy, an eminent Saivite, and a small temple with Gopuram was completed in 1909. The first Maha Kumba Abishegam of the Sri Kandaswamy Temple was held on 9 February 1909 (Tamil year Keelaga 28th day of the Tamil month Thai).

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