Monday, December 11, 2006

Temple of the Heavenly Mother

During mom's birthday a few months ago, we made a visit to the famous and old time temple of the Heavenly Mother (aka Thean Hou Miu) which is located on top of Robson Hill off Jalan Syed Putra.
It is one of the largest Chinese temples in South East Asia and boasts of a magnificent combination of the modern twist in the Chinese traditional architectural structures in the building.
This temple; dates back to almost 100 years of history; with its first site being reputed to be built in Jalan Sultan.
The Thean Hou temple was built by the Hainanese community in KL then and is now run by the Selangor and Federal Territory Hainan Association. Since the opening, the temple has since been endorsed as the true representation and symbolic mean of the Malaysian Chinese in promoting it as a Malaysian tourist destination by the local Tourism Development Council.

The visiting of this temple consciously brought back lots of nostalgic childhood memories to me as we used to frequent this place as the main tourist destination to bring our relatives each time they visit us in KL.
Thus, my bro and me will always remember this temple. Furthermore, this temple is also famous as they were often the selected locations for all the Chinese New Year music videos. Therefore, this temple really house the feel of familiarity to all of us:)
There are 4 levels in the temple; the lowest level houses the vegetarian restaurants, food courts and souvenir shops. The first level has all the halls which often hosts all the cultural activities and external functions run by organizations/parties.
The marriage resgistration office is located on the 2nd level and needless to say, the temple shrine and prayer halls/altars are on the 3rd floor.
There will be these staircase leading you up to the devotees' hall on the 3rd level.
Once you reach the temple shrine, you will marvel at the serenity of the surroundings and also the amazing dragon and pagoda embellished structures which hold the fort of the temple.
In fact, this place is really well kept and always projects a clean and noble image to the visitors. I never once saw this place dirty each time I was here and I think they have done a great job in the maintenance of the temple:)

This is the front of the temple leading into the prayers hall.
Once you step into the hall, you will find yourself looking at the Heavenly Mother herself who sits in the centre of the temple with Goddess of Mercy (Guan Yin) on the right and also the Waterfront Goddess (Sui Wei Niang Niang) on the left.
Goddess of Mercy
Waterfront Goddess
Look at the architecture embedded in the temple's ceiling
This is the another architecture which always warrants camera's attention:)
There is also another site shrine of the Goddess of Mercy where the goddess's statue holds a sprinkler-like fountain in the form of her blessing bottle. For those who kneel down on the pad, the water will sprinkle on them and also this is where you can make your wishes and throw in a dime or two for the old-wishing well type of concept:)
Used to do this when I was younger...:P
This place is also famous for those auspicious marriage ceremonies; usually those mass weddings on the Chinese auspicious dates...
Now on the story of Thean Hou (The Heavenly Mother); I often mistook her for the Heavenly Queen of Heaven (Wang Mou Niang Niang) who presides as the mother of the powerful Jade Emperor.
Thean Hou; is actually Matsu Po (or known as Mar Cho Po in Hokkien) and is actually the protector and goddess for the seafarers. She is typically worshipped by fishermen and also sailors and most of the time, her shrines are located near the sea.
Thean Hou was born to a fishermen family and was given her birth name of Beok Niu; which means Silent Girl as she was an infant who was born without crying.
Since young, she possess amazing swimming abilities despite starting out late in learning out on swimming. By the age of 15, she was already an excellent swimmer. She often wore red and stood up high on the rocks of the shores to guide those who were out at the sea back to safety in spite of the condition of the weather.
For more information on Matsu Po/Heavenly Mother, you can go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tian_Hou


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