The Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in George Town is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Penang. Its beginnings can be traced back to as early as 1801, when it was a small shrine.
Penang's rapid growth as a trading hub especially of goods such as nutmeg, clove and pepper attracted traders from Europe, America, Arabia, India and China. These traders eventually settled down in Penang.
At the same time, seeing the need for a proper worshipping space for the increasing Indian community on the island, the shrine was expanded into a proper temple. It was then enlarged into a temple in 1833. This year is significant as it is noted as the year the temple was founded.
It was decorated by artisans and built in elaborate South Indian architecture. Statues of Hindu Gods, goddesses and sacred animals adorn the temple throughout. There is also a priceless statue of Lord Subramaniam, the revered Hindu deity, adorned in gold, diamonds and emerald finery.
Throughout the years, the Sri Maha Mariamman temple is also known by several names: Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple, Sri Arulmigu Mahamariamman Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple. These names refer to the same temple.
The temple is easily recognisable, from its intricate gopuram (sculpted wall tower), and visitors are encouraged to observe the prayer sessions carried out by the temple priests. This temple is located at Little India in Georgetown at the junction of Lebuh Chulia and Lebuh Queen.