Friday, December 20, 2013

Sam Poh Tong Temple [三寶佛洞] - Cavern of Triple Gems @ Ipoh City [Perak, Malaysia]

The Malaysian state of Perak was no stranger to me as i had ever visited this historical state as part of the history trip i took in 1995. Back then, i was brought to this exquisite temple called Perak Cave.

Another temple i heard that was on an equal standing was Sam Poh Tong. It took me eighteen years to finally stand in front of this grand plaque and to be frank, i didn't get that exhilaration i felt back at Perak Cave.

It was little less impressive even though the Chinese characters and design of the entrance did remind me of a few cave scenes in the classic drama "Journey to the West"! 

Cavern consists of only one main hall. There were staircases leading up to some other places which i would cover shortly. 

Two of the Four Heavenly Kings who are often mistaken as belonging to the Taoist faith; right was 多聞天王 (he who hears everything) while the left was 廣目天王 (he who sees all). You can recognise them based on the items they were holding on to.

Inner chamber with a statue of Buddha on one side and Guanyin and likely the eighteen luohans. As you can see, this temple had little remnants of its origins as a cave with floor tiles and white-washed walls.

There was nothing else on level one except for a passageway that cut across the cave.

This led us to an outdoor area that appeared to be a crater in the middle of the limestone hill! 

Visitors come here for only one purpose; to feed the tortoises!

Nothing is free; please pay a nominal sum for a bundle of water spinach where you can entice the tortoises to come to you. We realised after a while that these shelled reptiles were not interested in them at all! There were just too many people holding on to bundles and bundles of kangkong.

Hm..... Singapore's temples are filled with red-eared terrapins; very different from this larger species which was uncommonly seen in Singapore. 

An abandoned building blocked my way to explore if there's another way out of the "crater". 

Strangely, temples are usually known to stick to traditional Chinese architecture in their design but in this instance, there was a westernized fountain that obviously featured a white boy holding on to a carp. 

A look at some of the stone sculptures before we walked back to the main hall where dad and i ventured up the staircase to explore! 

More statues.

The view would be nicer without the window grilles; or so i thought until i forgot that there was one main pest that cave temples would not want to have loitering in their premises; birds with their seemingly uncontrollable bowels! 

Another forsaken area that was locked. 

Even though i was hoping to climb up to a higher spot for a vantage view, it was cut short by this padlocked gate. Oh well, the state of the area beyond the gate seemed to be a breeding ground for snakes! 

View from where i stood.

Anyone still remember my post on this? It was blogged last year and the subject, if i remember correctly, was on forbidden city! For those keen to know more about my Beijing trip can click here

Mom waiting for us; bored like the mongrel in front of us. As an avid temple goer, i am quite surprised she wasn't that excited when we visited the cave temples in Ipoh. 

In fact, it was my dad who expressed the most excitement! 

So far, the photographs posted here were pretty dull. That's because i have yet to touch on the garden which was voted best landscaped garden in Malaysia! 

Impressive even though the award was given twenty years ago!

A few more pictures for your viewing pleasure. It was not a huge area but the temple operator managed to turn it into a beautiful place that attracted more visitors to take photographs outside rather than inside the temple. 

Hm... a last question; the stone lion above looked like a dog right? 

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Location
Sam Poh Tong, Gunung Rapat, 
31350 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

GPS Location
4°33'49"N 101°6'55"E


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