Timothy Tye's Travel Encyclopedia
Mahindarama Buddhist Temple

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Mahindrarama Buddhist Temple (15 December, 2008)

Mahindarama Buddhist Temple (GPS: 5.40889, 100.30721) is a Theravada Buddhist temple along Kampar Road in Penang. It is located at the junction with Gunaratana Road.

Mahindarama Buddhist Temple is one of the major meditation centres for Buddhist, and attracts Buddhists locally as well as those from other countries including Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Mahindrarama Buddhist Temple (15 December, 2008)

Mahindarama Buddhist Temple derives its name from two Pali words, Mahinda and Arama. Mahinda is the name of one of the sons of King Asoka of India. Mahinda was instrumental in spreading Buddhism to Sri Lanka (or Tambapanni, as it was then called) some two thousand years ago. Arama is a Pali word for a holy place or sanctuary. When put together, Mahindarama can mean a beautiful sanctuary or refuge.

Mahindarama Buddhist Temple was established by its chief monk, the Venerable A. Pemaratana Thero who had established a santuary with a handful of Buddhist followers in the Batu Lanchang area. With funding from a Sinhalese, M.V. Gregory, a plot of land in the Caunter Hall area was purchased for the founding of the monastery. It was known as the Caunter Hall Buddhist Temple.

Stupa of Mahindrarama Buddhist Temple (15 December, 2008)

As the original site at Caunter Hall suffered from frequent flooding, necessitating a search for an alternative site. The present site on Kampar Road was purchased in 1921. Meanwhile, the Venerable A. Pemaratana acquired a set of Buddha images from Sri Lanka. Unfortunately he unexpectedly fell sick and passed away in 1927. His remains were then enshrined in a stupa at the Caunter Hall Buddhist Temple.

Following the demise of A, Pemaratana, the running of the Caunter Hall Buddhist Temple fell into the hands of his only pupil, the Venerable W. Sumanasara Thero. W. Sumanasara Thera set off a fund-raising campaign for the relocation and construction of the new monastery.

The Mahindarama bodhi tree and shrineThe Mahindarama bodhi tree and shrine (15 December, 2008)

In 1930, the new monastery, called Mahindarama Buddhist Temple, was completed, and the main hall opened to the public on the occasion of Wesak Day in 1933. Later that same year the Venerable K. Gunaratana Thero took over as chief monk of the monastery.

The late Venerable Bhikkhu K. Gunaratana Thera served as chief monk of Mahindarama Buddhist Temple from 1933 to 1964. He also took on the position of Chief Priest of Malaya and Singapore from 1955. The road outside the monastery was named Jalan Gunaratana. The monastery library, completed in 1990 was also named the Gunaratana Memorial Library in his memory.

Bell tower of Mahindrarama Buddhist Temple (15 December 2008)


Mahindarama Buddhist Temple
2 Kampar Road, 10460 Penang

Getting there

Rapid Penang Bus 201, 202, 203 and 204 pass along Jalan Air Itam in front of it.

Nearby Sights

Entrance arch of Mahindrarama Buddhist Temple (15 December 2008)

Mahindarama Buddhist Temple is on the map of Jalan Air Itam

List of Buddhist Temples in Penang and Buddhist Temples in Malaysia

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