I received calls and messages thanking me for the story on Hindu Temples in Ipoh and was asked why the famous Pilliar Temple was left out. In fact this was the first temple I contacted, but was not able to interview anyone before my due date and that’s why the temple was not included.
The Maha Ganapathy Aalayam (Temple) popularly known as Railway Pilliar Kovil was established in 1863 under an Arasa Maram (Peepal Tree) in a zinc building. Located at Persiaran Tun Perak, the temple underwent many modifications and the present temple was built in 2007. The main deity is Ganapathy or Pilliar, the Elephant-headed God who represents knowledge and is considered to be the remover and destroyer of obstacles. It is customary for Hindus to pay salutation to Pilliar before beginning any activity.
The main festivals are: Vinayagar Sathurthi is celebrated for ten days during August/September to honour Vinayagar’s birthday. Vinayagar is another name for Ganapathy. The festival is to teach a person to avoid the company of bad people and cultivate the company of good people. Prayers are held and on each day a devotee sponsors food as thanksgiving. On the last day there is a chariot procession.
Nalvar Guru Pujai is celebrated to pay respect to four major Saivite Saints Thirunaavukkarasar, Thirunjaanasamandar, Sundaramurthy Naayanar and Manikavasagar. Prayers are held in the morning and annathanam (food) is served.
Nadarajar Abishegam or pouring libations on the statue is celebrated six times a year to resolve life problems. Nadarajar is believed to remove bad karma.