Temple celebrates Navaratri while demolition looms

It is the final night of Navaratri  at the Seafield Mariamman Temple, along the Puchong Hicom Expressway. This temple was built in 1891, for the plantation estate workers who were mainly brought over from India.  Over the past 9 days, thousands of devotees have gathered here to celebrate this annual vegetarian festival.

As the story of Navaratri is being re-enacted tonight, the devotees are celebrating with a heavy heart, knowing that a court hearing over the next few weeks may mean that this 120 year old temple be demolished.

Nagaraju, 58 the Temple Chairman has this to say.

”In 1986, the estate was sold to Sime UEP, a development company on the condition that one acre be allocated to the temple at the present site. However in the 1990’s the developer wanted to shift the temple to another site saying that the earlier condition has been revoked. The temple management took the case to court and obtained an injunction restraining the developer from demolishing the temple until the land case is over.

Sime UEP had  sold the land to another developer One City Developer, who also wants to shift the temple but the devotees and committee feels that since they have been here for more than 120 years, its our right to stay here.  Since this is a place of worship think we should stay at this present site and not move away”

There appears another good reason why this temple should be preserved. There are a few sacred Bo trees in the temple compound which are more than a century old.

Nagaraju has this to say,

If you see the tree at the back, it is more than 125 yrs old they did a research through the forestry department confirmed that it is more than 125 yrs old in 1991, so now it is 145 years old. There are a total of 3 trees which have been certified

The developers are willing to compensate any price, but the devotees want to stay because of the history.”

Video by {YOUR_NAME_HERE}, Citizen Journalist