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Hinduism must have pre-existed in Miri before our records indicate.

The first record appears with the late Mr. Raghavan s/o Veera (1911-1988). He left Kuching age 11 with his mother to start a curry paste business. They moved to Mukah then to Miri in 1925.

They stayed at Brooke Road, conducting business and prayers at home. There were other Hindu families in the area but not much was known of them.

The number of Hindus in the Miri area increased when the plantation boom started in the early 60's. This coincided with the expansion of oil exploration.

Hindu police personnel were posted into Miri district in the 70's. As there was yet no temple, prayer sessions was on rotation basis within their homes. With the growing Hindu community, a desire for a place of worship grew as well. The temple is the cornerstone in Hindu worship. There were temples in Kuching and in neighboring Brunei. The lack of a temple in Miri was sorely felt.

The Miri Hindu Society (MHS) was formed to fulfill this shortcoming. The Chairman was Mr.Raghavan. Drawing up of the rules and constitution fell to the hands of Dilip Bhattacharyya. MHS was registered on the 3rd Jan 1987. Prayer sessions were well organized with participation and interaction between Hindus from different walks of life. Special events like Ponggal, Deepavalli, Navarathiri and Thaipusam were celebrated together.

In 1980, Mr. Raghavan put up a building to house his family and a flour mill business. The concrete roof of this building was used for Tae Kwon Do training. When the Tae Kwon Do contract expired in 1989, Mr.Raghavan offered the space, rent free, to the MHS. It was far from suitable, open to the elements with no toilet or cooking facilities. As the saying goes, "beggars cannot be choosers". MHS accepted this kind offer. From then on prayers were centralized at this rooftop location, albeit low-key, not to disturb the residents below. The practice of Hinduism in Miri has always been low-key. It is by choice the stalwarts of the society kept it that way. The emphasis is on unity; one community, one temple.

An application for a piece of land for a Hindu Temple was first sent out on the 30th of March 1987. It was special times back then when many non Hindus helped raised funds for MHS and the Temple. The formation of The Miri Indian Association (MIA) in 1997 enhanced the community element. Under a common umbrella many races and religions worked towards a common goal, pooled resources to develop the Miri community as a whole. The organization of Deepavalli functions, with a multi racial twist, fell to the capable hands of the MIA. Even today under the patronage of the MIA, many non Hindus continue to support the Hindu cause in Miri. It is also interesting to note religion is not a barrier in Miri, with one religious community supporting events of another. This communal cooperation is unique to Miri which should be emulated by all. Intermarriage between races might be a factor.

On June 8, 2006 the first Hindu wedding was done at the rooftop temple. The shortcomings of the location were made insignificant by the pomp and flair of the colorful Hindu wedding. Dr P.L. Subramanian wed Miss Melia ak Rantai. More unity! Many things and equipment was flown in from Kuala Lumpur as they are not available locally. Even the priest caught a flight for the wedding. The couple decided to hold the wedding here, despite the shortcomings, as they consider Miri their home.

There are approximately 80 Hindu families in Miri. They are engineers, doctors, police personnel, plantation managers, geologists, computer experts, firemen, pilots, marine captains, businessmen, teachers, lecturers, etc. A few are Indian and British expatriates attached to the Oil and Gas industry.

There is a Hindu saying "never stay in a town without a temple". It is not surprising then that expatriates do their research on Miri before accepting a stint here. It is known of some who have turned down lucrative offers because they could not meet their religious obligations in Miri. A few West-Malaysians (especially teachers) posted here try to evade the posting for similar reasons. This is a loss for those people and Miri as well, as these professionals bring with them development.

MHS has gone from strength to strength, and the prayers of the Hindu community is about to be fulfilled at last. The government has identified a piece of land suitable for the construction of a Hindu Temple. Processing of documents is at an advanced stage and the Hindu community is holding its breath!

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