The Sri Kunj Bihari Mandir, also known as Krishna Temple as well as Thakorwadi, is the first (and probably only) Northern Indian temple in Penang. Located along Penang Road, was built in 1835 after receiving an endowment from the Hindus from Bihar in North India in 1833. At that time, the area around the temple was a settlement for the North Indian community comprising the Punjabis, Gujaratis, Sindhis, Bengalis and Uttar Pradeshi Bhaiyas.
According to historical records, Sir George Leith, the Lieutenant Governor of Prince of Wales island, granted a piece of land to one Chay Ismail in 1803. From there many years were to pass before a temple was built. It was to be one of the two main Vaishnavite temples in Penang, dedicated for the worship of Vishnu as the supreme deity - the other Vaishnavite temple is the Sri Rama Temple at Solok York. Priests for the temple had to be brought over from India.
Sri Kunj Bihari Temple (30 July, 2006)
While the lineage of priests serving the temple going back to its founding years have been lost to time, oral testimony has allowed the temple authorities to trace its roots back to the early 1900's. One of the earliest known priests of the Sri Kunj Bihari Mandir was Pandit. Sri Charan Bhatacharjee, born in 1866 and arrived in Penang in 1904.
The Sri Kunj Bihari continued to serve as the religious centre for Hindus from various ethnic backgrounds. Sri Bahari Road nearby is said to take its name from this temple.
Sri Vaikunda Egadesi Festival
Since 1948, the Sri Vaikunda Egadesi Festival (வைகுண்ட ஏகாதசி) is celebrated every year by the Sri Kunj Bihari Temple. It falls during the Dhanurmasa period of the Hindu calendar, corresponding to between late December and January on the Gregorian calendar. The festivity is organized with the cooperation of the temple management committee of the Hindu Mahajana Sangam.
The Sri Vaikunda Egadesi Festival at the Sri Kunj Bihari Temple Author: Courtesy of the Hindu Mahajana Sangam
Image of the deity at the Sri Vaikunda Egadesi Festival Author: Courtesy of the Hindu Mahajana Sangam
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