Nov 2015 - A celebration of Deepavali

Last Wednesday, we of the Malaysian Culture Group had a great morning out (as we often do). This time Harinie Wijeweera  invited us to meet at the Temple of Fine Arts, Jalan Berhala at Brickfields.


Usha Ramakrishnan, Secretary of Fine Arts, introduced us to the Indian Festival of Deepavali, and its significance. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Deepavali signifies the victory of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair.

Jaya Sree who is the Assistant Secretary continued the talk, which prepared us for the events that were to follow: 


We split into two groups as there were at least 34 attending. 

The first group watched as Mr Segar gave us a demonstration of Garland Tying. Not all of us knew that Indian women put flowers in their hair each day: it is very much part of their beauty routine. Mr Segar, who has a florist shop called Segar Florist in Sentul has a book of photographs of the many floral arrangements he is able to produce. 

The most artistic (or maybe the bravest) of our group tried to make their own garlands. They used strands of wool to tie jasmine buds which, when they open, have a glorious perfume lending more attraction to the women’s hair.


The second group watched as the Artist Latha demonstrated how to do Henna Drawing on the hand. The Henna is dark and I thought how nice it would be to draw the patterns on the back of the hand with chocolate, because when you wanted to do another pattern you could lick the first one off (This wasn’t an option that Latha mentioned). 

We loved seeing the volunteers’ hands becoming beautiful with patterns and only wished there were time for us all to be inscribed. One woman whispered to me that it was a great way to get your husband to do the washing up as obviously, one couldn’t do it oneself as it would ruin the pattern.

Our next treat was a short performance by Bollywood and Bharathanatyam.

Dancers Swathi Sivadas and Harshini  Sukumaran followed by audience participation which was fun to do and even more fun to watch. 

A solo performance by Ananga Manjari showed how Indian dancing involves every part of the body. Particularly noticeable were Ananga’s eye movements as she danced. The story was of a young girl who is waiting for her loved one to come down her road and look at her.

After this we went downstairs for a Kolam demonstration and participation.

Miss Viji and Devi showed us how to make Kolam with flour and Rangoli with rice. These patterns are arranged outside every house during Deepavali.


Such a great morning could only end in one way: lunch.


We enjoyed Indian cuisine at Annalakshmi Riverside, which is inside the Temple of Fine Arts. 

The food was especially enjoyable for me as I am vegetarian and often face just one or two choices on the menu. But not here: everything is vegetarian and there is no smoking and no alcohol. 


Our buffet lunch was delicious and the mango lassi the best in KL. Should you wish to visit the restaurant again it is open for lunch 11.30 - 3.00 pm and for dinner from 6.30 to 10.00pm. It is closed on Mondays.

Hmm, I wonder if we could visit there again soon even if it is not Deepavali?


Judyth Gregory-Smith