Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rick's Roadshow: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Day 2

Welcome back to another installment of Rick's Roadshow: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Today was strictly a sight-seeing day for me. My hosts took me around to see two major points of interest; The Thean Hu Temple, and the Batu Caves, which is the site of the most important Hindu shrine outside of India. The Batu caves were formed 400 million years ago and rise over 100 meters above ground. Today it is considered very sacred, and attracts 1.5 million people on the day of the Hindu festival. That's a lot of people on one day to assemble, all with the hopes to enter the caves. One side note about Malaysia. You may recall I mentioned yesterday that they say Malaysia is "the most Asian place in Asia". That's because there is a very wide variety of Asian peoples here. In particular, there are many Indians, in this case, Hindus who come to visit this shrine. OK, so here goes, get ready for some cool photos:

above: a close up of these dual structures, they are beautiful, aren't they? Click on the photo to Biggify it!

above: This is Murugan, a Hindu deity who greets visitors from far away; at 141 feet tall, her height is both imposing and impressive. She is covered with 330 liters of gold, brought from Thailand. Look behind her, to the left- see the stairs going up the mountain? I went all the way up...

above: a small shrine at the base, before you ascend the steps.

above: the sign here states the full name, which I cannot pronounce: "Sri Subraamaniaswamy Temple, Batu Caves"

above: I hope this gives the perspective of the height. From the base this gates marks the entrance up the mountain. I climbed the 272 steps up, and then entered the cave to see the temple.

above: w
hen you reach the top of the 272 steps, this statue greets you, at the entrance to the caves. At the point there is still a way to go inside, with many more steps. I was huffing and puffing and then I saw people much older than I passing me by so I persevered...

above: Up at the top, once you pass the main entrance, you then descend a few steps into the cave and then have to climb again...

above: deep inside the cave, far overhead is this opening in the ceiling. Its very high, I just zoomed in.

above: inside the
cave, looking back down onto the floor. The bright light on the floor is what was coming in from that opening at the ceiling of the cave. It provided a "heavenly" feeling for the faithful.

above: Stalactites hang from th
e ceiling of the cave, adding to the beauty and mystery of it all.

above: At the heart of the cave. This is a sacred cleansing altar. Only Hindus enter, after removing their shoes. They approach the back altar, make offerings, pray and are cleansed by a priest type person.

above: an altar to a Hindu deity.

above: Snakes. I HATE snakes.
There were a few other exotic reptiles there for visitors to check out. I moved away quickly with my skin crawling.

above: I spotted this monkey way up high, peering out onto the visitors.

above: I was surprised to see monkeys lose everywhere at the temple. They greet visitors seeking food.

above: the monkeys beg for fruit from visitors.

above: Monkeys are so mischievous. They grab things, run away and play with them. In this case he snatched food from a tourist's hand and ate it.

above: How's this for being close. I was literally right in front of him, its not a zoom!

above: A huge Hindu god statue.

above: back outside the temple caves, this peaceful lake was a gathering place for the faithful to pray and stare in wonder back at the caves they just visited

My Visit to the Great Thean Hou Temple

above: this Chinese goddess greets visitors to the temple grounds. There is a waterfall to her right.

above: outside the main temple is this structure and statue of a god who I do not recognize.

The front entrance of the temple has multiple arched Chinese gates each with brilliant red columns, to symbolize prosperity and good fortune and luck.

above: a close up of the roof detail. I love Chinese dragons!

above: the main central altar, of Goddess Tian Hau. She is joined by Mazu (or Matsu) a goddess of the seas and Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy.

above: Here she is closer. In front you can see the traditional offerings of oranges and glasses of water.

above: the ceiling high above the main altar in the temple.

above: these photos don't do it justice.

above: looking out, from inside the temple. I liked the perspective of the columns, hanging lanterns and the structures at the entrance.

above: a close up of the columns outside the temple. Check out the details, so beautiful.

above: there were panels like this on either side of every door, on the inside.

After visiting a number of Chinese Buddhist temples across Asia I can say that I have felt so peaceful and relaxed while inside. While I am not a practicing Buddhist, I have been studying it for a number of years and sometimes wonder if I was Buddhist in a prior life. So, while in each temple, I took a moment to pray, give homage and make a traditional incense offering. I actually found it very uplifting. If you ever have the opportunity to visit a Chinese Temple, go in and experience it.
Thanks for stopping by Rick's Roadshow from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Next up: Singapore!
-Rick Rockhill


Anonymous said...

Religious art is always the best. Doing it all for the glory of faith. These structures and temples are a perfect example of art for the glory of faith.

Singapore? Ooh, I can't wait... I'll be pinging my reader for that installment.

Thanks again for letting us travel along with you, my dear.

KathyA said...

Amazingly beautiful! Husband just commented that you really get a lot out of these trips and spend much time documenting them.

Palm Springs Savant said...

Kathy- Your husband is right! Even though many times I am on my way to or from somewhere for work, I always bring my camera with me. I derive great personal satisfaction from documenting my travels and being able to look back on them here from this blog, even years later.


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