Monday, December 30, 2013

Kwan Yin Tong Temple [觀音洞] - Cavern of Guanyin Bodhisattva @ Ipoh City [Perak, Malaysia]

The last of my excessive temple stops in Ipoh; Kwan Yin Tong is, similar to the rest of the temples i visited, located by the side of a picturesque limestone hill known as Gunung Rapat. 

Divided into roughly three different sections, i am trying my best to categorise the pictures so that they appeared consistent even though i was running all over the place in search of my dad, who went missing momentarily. 

Let's start the journey by crossing over the red metal bridge.

Don't belittle this narrow stream of muddy water; it brought down tonnes of mud and sludge that literally submerged the temple grounds thirty over years ago.

Temple (觉慧寺)
Paying homage to the numerous enlightened beings in the Buddhism realm wasn't the first thing i did but for the sake of easy remembrance, it was the first building ahead of me. 

Painted wall mural depicting the Gautama Buddha under a Bodhi tree where he gained enlightenment at the age of 35 years old after 49 days of meditation.

Temple interiors - featuring mainly white washed walls and artificial flooring that betrayed the true natural origins of the millennium-old cavern.

Eighteen Arhats - i am going to spare you the details of their origins and purposes. For more information, just click on the following wikipedia link; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighteen_Arhats

Divination lots - how many of you have actually tried this? I have yet to do so although on one hand, i am curious to know what the lot would say if i ask about wealth and fortune.

On the other hand, i am also afraid that this simple piece of paper would affect my thought, motivation and followup action if it turns out negative.

Not only that, you likely would have to defer to the divination of a fortune teller (especially for individuals like me who don't really know shit about traditional Chinese poems and their inferences), which means you are subjecting your fate to another person.

Anyway, the temple is currently undergoing a donation drive for funds to replace the current building. 

Proceeding to the second section where i am going to scale a hill after finding my dad missing from the temple compound! I presume he was somewhere near since he is hard of hearing and hence, might not be able to hear my loud voice calling out to him.

Gigantic chess set! 

A Chinese poem on the cliff that was beyond my comprehension; it sounded somewhat along the line of past and present life for the limestone hill. I think. 

Mom taking a photo with her zodiac animal; the horse which would be the upcoming animal for the Chinese new year. A post on the decorations at Chinatown (Singapore) would be posted soon!

Looks a bit like me hor! I thought it bears some resemblance to a personal friend; Jeffrey Lim! On second thought, it was said both of us could pass off as twins! haha. 

True to its name, Kwan Yin Tong was blessed with a lot of statues on the bodhisattva associated with compassion; according to one website, there were over 75 life-like sculptures on her. 

They were numerous enough yet i didn't find them as impressive as the 500-Arhat temple in Bintan Island where each luohan was uniquely special with different posture, expression etc.

Hill (慧峰)
After hollering a while to seek the attention of the missing father without any success, i decided to climb up the hill as Dad was known to be more of an avid explorer than me (that's where part of my adventurous genes came from). 

Unlike me, he wasn't terrified of heights! 

The uphill trek was worth the climb as you would be guaranteed of a better view of the surroundings. Provided you climb all the way to the top though. 

The pathway up appeared to be incomplete yet it remained open to the public. 

Maintenance of completed items also seemed to be weak with signs of apparent neglect. A pity especially when it could have benefited for offering a good view via a not too difficult climb.

A pair of pandas on the rock along the way.

Getting quite high up without a sign of dad. I was getting worried as there weren't many visitors around and accidents can take place in unfamiliar areas. 

A notice on the side barring visitors from proceeding further added to my worries. What if my dad decided to go ahead and met with some accident?!

With rail-less staircase adding on to my fear of height, i was apprehensive to advance further yet had to because of my dad. Was about to step forward when i heard someone calling me from the bottom of the staircase; my dad. 

Others
This area i unwittingly put as "others" was the most fascinating as in there were many things to see and do, despite it taking up not a very big space. 

With the building taking three sides and the cliff on the sideline, the open area was effectively boxed up and well-protected from the rain although it continued to have natural sunlight streaming in to light up the many artifacts within the compound. 

There were hundreds, maybe thousands, of tiny golden Buddha statues screwed to the wall that shimmered and shined upon a magical touch by the sunlight.

Items placed precariously in a little cavity.

A shrine for dogs?! Come to think about it, is there really a temple dedicated to dogs? The most i can think of is one honouring the canine that followed the deity, Er Lang Shen. 

人缘树 - the tree that would enhance your popularity!

Tie one red string (RM 1) around the branches and you shall be blessed with better relationship in love, friendship, family ties and even with strangers! 

Thai wishing gong - you are supposed to rush your hands on the gong and make a wish concurrently; your wish would come true if you manage to hear an echo.

Saw this in the attached administration office cum shop. For those who don't recognise Chinese, it talked about an interested subject - Spirits of babies who died before they were borne.

An existing room on the second level was actually converted into an altar where the tablets / ashes of those spirits were enshrined for a nominal fee. Would love to check them out but public access was discouraged.

More of "let your wishes come true" stuff surrounding the building! 

In this case, the overhanging tablet can also double up as a message board. Gosh, if only i can write so beautifully. Honestly, even i cannot recognise my handwriting sometimes! 

A one-off sculpture of a skinny man holding on to a kid who has supposedly passed on due to hunger. 

I have seen this before and their origin was definitely from Japan although i am not sure what you call them. 

Each of them came attached with a jingling bell and blessings like safe, prosperous etc. As you can see, the bells have rusted and i don't see any place where i can purchase and add on to the entourage. 

A Japanese style wishing pond - you are supposed to go in barefooted and walk on the twelve stone steps while mumbling your wish and keeping your eyes closed. As you reach the end, toss the coin behind you. 

Another one; i have seen on some blogs that there were love locks as well even though i didn't remember seeing any. With five temples since morning, i am already facing fatigue and i bet so are many of you who have been following my Ipoh updates!

To conclude on a lighter note, let me post you a question with reference to the above photograph; how old do you think she is? Don't be dirty minded okay!

No answer but it didn't matter since the laughter was on the subject which was a cow! 

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Location
Batu 4½, Jalan Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah 
(Jalan Gopeng), Ipoh, Perak.

Additional Information
There was another temple further down even though we didn't have the time (nor the energy to check it out). The big board indicated that the temple had resurfaced after being buried under the soil for 32 long years! 


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