Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sri Pathra Kaliamman Temple (Pulau Pangkor), Perak

The beautiful coastline of Pulau Pangkor has a hidden treasure, vaulted deep in its sandy beaches. Kaliamman, the ferocious form of Shakti, is indeed an unpolished diamond, and moreover is deeply protective of her adoring devotees.  Like a mother who constantly looks over her flock of children, she looks after the welfare of Pangkor residents, and guides, protects and nurtures them. Nestled on the beaches of Pangkor, the temple is a beacon of spirituality. The past of  Kaliamman temple indicates that fisherman from India built a shrine for this goddess 150 years ago, to protect them from the turbulent, unpredictable, deadly waves of the sea. They had installed a ‘trisulam’ (trident), and lit up camphor, lime lamps, and offering of flower, before proceeding to the sea. After a good catch, there was usually an animal sacrifice, which is not practiced anymore. Later on, the shrine was renovated and devotees installed a granite statue of Kaliamman, beneath a neem tree. In the earlier days of the temple, it was in close proximity to the beach, so much so that during Amavasai (new moon) and Pournami (full moon) the sea used to ascend the silky sands of the beach, just reaching the blessed feet of Kaliamman. 

There are many tales of endearment of this temple, which describes her predominant presence. A blind man, who used to live near the temple, had always lamented his deplorable condition. One day, the blind man heard a mysterious, raspy voice, instructing him to light oil lamps at the Kaliamman temple, and that his blindness would be cured. He earnestly followed this spiritual edict, and over time his blindness was completely cured. As a mark of devotion, he used to carry ‘kavadi’ (spiritual dance) for Kaliamman during the yearly Masi Magam festival until he passed away. Another tale was that the granite statue of Kaliamman was stolen by bandits, and thrown into the sea. A deeply anguished devotee, dreamt of her telling that she was in the sea, and gave a precise description of where to find the statue. Soon she was found, and all her devotees rejoiced with a celebration. Many devotees have had scintillating visions of the goddess. Some have seen her sitting on a rock, combing her deep, black hair, under the shiny moon glow of Pournami and Amavasai. Others have seen gentler form of Kaliamman, in the form of a small girl with silver anklets, running around the temple, and its inner sanctum. 

The most distinct aspect of this temple is that it faces the sea as well as the direction of east. Therefore it has a twofold feature, whereby devotees are blessed with the energy of the sun, as well giving the opportunity for devotees to bathe in the sea to remove negative energy. In addition, the temple has a 60 kilogram ‘trisulam’ facing Kaliamman, forged from ‘aimpon’ (5 metals). It is 6 feet in length, and has engravings of the sun, moon, 27 ‘nakshtra’ (stars), 12 ‘rasi’ (moon sign), and other holy symbols. The highlight of this temple is during Masi Magam, whereby the temple’s annual ‘tiruvila’ (festival) is celebrated with much joy, pompousness, and spiritual glee. During this annual festival, the deity is taken around the temple and is taken to the sea to be bathed in 'kadal tirtham' (seawater), before proceeding back into the temple.

Address: Sungai Pinang Besar, Pangkor. Contact: 016-6939575 Sharma Iyer