This jungle temple in Negeri Sembilan was birthed in the late 1970's. It was inspired by the intensity of resistance, from a river spirit that resided in a rock collected by a visiting Hindu priest in that area. Originally intended for his temple in town, he instead erected a shelter for the rock on the river bank, using the buttress root of a tree. The spirit's form is kind and is a vegetarian deity who does not accept any animal sacrifice.
Later, an agressive jungle form of the Muneeswaran Hindu deity was invited to the grounds. It is usually worshipped in Indian villages with grand celebrations, with goats or chicken sacrificed. He is also offered Beedis (country made cigarettes) or cigars and alcohol. Muneeswaran is regarded as a congenial God, who offers protection to his devotees.
Over the years an Indian family brought in to work as labourers became caretakers and eventually a roof was built over the tree. Services of spiritual guidance by a medium, speaking for the spirit was offered to visitors. Since then an annual Abhishekam is performed for both the deities. It is akin to puja, a Sanskrit word that means “worship.” The principle behind abhishekam is total surrender to and love of the deity. It is believed that by bathing the statue, or murti, the devotees cleanse and purify their own minds.
This annual worship is only done by the family members of the temple's caretakers. The males carry kavadi symbolising an auspicious and painstaking offering. Kavadi rituals also involve piercing and tend to involve bearing a burden along a route to a temple, where the burden is released.
This ritual requires the support of energy, music and ritual decorations from the tribe. It is a ritual of endurance. This is a dance, a walk, a journey into an ecstatic state.