Sep, 2017 - A taste of Deepavali




Deepavali in Malaysia is always a riot for the senses! Vibrant colours, flower garlands for offerings, intricate kolams, lights and candles, prayers at temples, loud music, gorgeous colourful  sarees and delicious Indian snacks.  Our Enak this month of Deepavali, the Hindu celebration to honour light over darkness and good over evil was planned to witness this first hand.

A group of 30 Enakkers and 3 guests met at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Jalan Tun H.S.Lee. This is the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia and is the home of the silver chariot which leads the procession to Batu Caves for Thaipusam (hidden away at present). Two of our members Anjeeta Nayar and Bidhya Priesne together with host Charlotte Sullivan gave us an informative description of the main deities of Mahamariamman who is worshipped as a protector as well as Vishnu, Ganesha and Lord Muruga. We were lucky as there was a special temporary statue in the temple of a female deity, Parvati, the Hindu goddess of fertility and sister of Lord Vishnu. Two priests were busy praying to her when we arrived with lots of chanting and music. See the photos of Parvati.


From the noise of the temple we then strolled along Jalan Tun H.S. Lee observing the Chinese temple from outside, the flower shops, medicinal herb and tea shops and then my group did a quick detour to see the Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, the oldest Chinese temple in KL. We ended our walk at Jalan Lebuh Ampang which was made famous by the Chettiar community from South India who established money lending businesses along this road. There are so many different Indian restaurants and sari, textile, gold shops, each one blaring Bollywood music to entice you inside. Today market stalls were being set up to sell Indian clothes from sarees to tiny babywear, lovely colourful kurtas and Punjabi suits of all shapes and sizes plus delicious looking snacks and sweets and decorations.

Finding a narrow doorway we headed up the stairs to a surprisingly large restaurant called Betel Leaf for lunch. I was amazed that even with such a big group we were made to feel welcome and our orders promptly taken. According to the website the restaurant was set up in 2009 for KLites to experience authentic Chettinad food and the majority of the spices used are imported from India.  They apparently rear their own goats and rabbits and grow their vegetables from their farm in Negeri Sembilan. I chose the vegetarian set so can’t vouch for the fresh goat and rabbit but all the vegetarian dishes were tasty and fresh. The mango lassi was fantastic.
From observing my neighbours the chicken and rice dishes looked very good and substantial as well.
Highly recommended.
A few of us headed to the saree shop, Chennai Pothy’s, next door where there are various levels displaying clothes for men and women and a tailor to “remodel” your saree and the top level is a hardware store selling all sorts of kitchen ware, bracelets and headwear and religious objects.

Thanks to Rosemary for organising the walkabout with host Charlotte Sullivan. Also thanks to our guides Michelle Pease, Vicki Fenessy, Anjeeta Nayar and Bidhya Priesne.


Happy Deepavali
Janine Williams