"A temple within a mall?"
Many were shocked when the Mid Valley Megamall project was announced in the 90s, as incorporating a temple within a mall had never been done in Malaysia, or anywhere else in the world before.
It all started when the IGB Corp Bhd acquired the land to develop the mall and had to rehouse 600 poor families, 10 private homes and the Sri Maha Sakthi Mohambigai Amman Temple.
Despite relocating all the homes successfully, the developers didn’t know what to do with the temple and didn’t want to demolish the house of worship temple and its Bodhi tree. It’s believed a white snake manifests itself once a year in the Bodhi tree.
That's when the Selangor government proposed the solution of peaceful co-existence between the mall and the temple.
It was former Mid Valley City Managing Director M.K Sen who managed to convince IGB Group CEO Datuk Robert Tan and Mid Valley City CEO Anthony Barragay, both of whom weren’t Hindu, of the idea.
They not only agreed - they also paid for the initial renovation of the temple, and doubled the temple’s land size by offering a 30,000 sqft space.
Most amazingly, the temple was given a 90-year lease at a nominal rent of only RM10 per month.
The developers had to redesign the original plan to incorporate the temple into the mall without destroying the Bodhi tree, especially because the temple was located at the prize entry point of the mall.
Nevertheless, the developers still proceeded with construction without relocating the temple. To-date, they credit the success of one of the most successful and unique malls in Asia to the world's first temple within a mall.
Image credit: TheStar
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