You’ll have to climb 513 stairs to cross this off your list of Penang things to do. But you’ll be rewarded with time to visit a fascinating Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Murugan. In addition, you’ll be surprised with stunning views of the Georgetown skyline in the distance.
Visitors ascend, bypassing the ancient Dewan Arulmamani Arumugam Pillai. Which dates from 1956, and another temple at this level, 30 meters below the new hilltop temple. Initially, a temple stood at the waterfall’s base within Penang Botanic Gardens. But it was relocated here in 1915 after the Waterfall Reservoir was built.
The Balathandayuthapani Temple, formally the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Kovil, is a temple complex in George Town, Penang. It is also known as the Waterfall Hill Temple or “Thaneer Malai” by locals. Penang Waterfall Temple, officially known as the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Kovil and Thanneermalai Shree Balathandayuthapani Devasthanam (Hindu: அருள்மிகு பாலதண்டாயுதபாணி கோயில் and தண்ணிர்மலை ஸ்ரீ பாலதண்டாயுதபாணி தேவஸ்தானம்), or Hill Top Murugan Temple, is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Penang. It was originally located within the grounds of the Penang Botanical Gardens.
According to popular belief, a sadhu (holy man) picked a location near the waterfalls for a Murugan shrine.
Thanner malai, which means “water hill,” was the name of the location, while Thannermalaian, or “he who dwells by the waterfall,” was the name of the god. The waterfall in issue is the Penang Botanic Gardens Waterfall, the largest on Penang Island (but unfortunately, not open to the public), where the temple was founded.
After the Batu Caves is the main point of Malaysia’s Hindu celebration of Thaipusam; with its seven-story, 21.6m-tall gopuram, the hilltop temple is the tallest Lord Murugan temple in the world.
Map It: 17, Jalan Kebun Bunga, Pulau Tikus, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia | Hours: 6 am – 12 pm, 5 pm – 9 pm daily