My Visit To Thean Hou Temple

Posted by : foongpc | Saturday, July 30, 2011 | Published in


Having blogged about ancient temple ruins in Cambodia for the past few weeks, I guess it's time to take a short break before you, my readers suffer from temple fatigue.

Unfortunately, I was not able to run away from the subject of temples. I found myself looking at the photos of temples again in my laptop albeit a different kind of temple. This time, it is the famous Chinese temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - the Thean Hou Temple (天后宫)

I have been to this temple only once when I was small so I could hardly remember how it looked like. I had this impression that it was quite grand! My chance to visit it again came last year when my brother went there for his registration of marriage (ROM).

Located atop Robson Heights along Lorong Bellamy overlooking Jalan Syed Putra, Thean Hou Temple was built in 1981, completed in 1987 and officially opened in 1989.

It is a 6-tiered temple built by the Hainanese community in Kuala Lumpur at the cost of RM7 million and is dedicated to the Goddess Tian Hou (The Heavenly Mother).

At the entrance to the temple, you can see this beautiful gazebo in Chinese-style architecture.

Near the gazebo is the statue of Goddess Guan Yin with a mini waterfall next to her.

There is also a garden with all the twelve Chinese animal zodiac, but I did not take photos of all of them except for the Dragon ...

The Rat ....

And the Tiger. This tiger sure looks fierce!

Can you see the Horse and the Sheep in the background?

Thean Hou Temple offers fortune telling and also marriage registration services as can be seen from this signboard.

I took photos of my brother and his wife and our families but I am afraid I won't be sharing them here. This post is more about Thean Hou Temple than about my brother's registration of marriage!

Look! There's even an ancient bride's carriage outside the ROM office!

After my brother had registered his marriage, we went for a short tour of the temple. The ROM office is located at the ground floor but to reach the temple, we had to climb up a few flight of stairs.

What greeted us were lanterns, lanterns and more lanterns!

I just snapped away with my camera!

Big red lanterns and smaller yellow ones were hung all over the temple compound. I am pretty sure it would be a sight to behold if all these lanterns are lighted up at night!

There were a few tourists there that day but most of the people were locals and they were there to do their prayers. Luckily it was not crowded as I simply dislike crowds!

I love the beautiful artistic roof of the temple which was decorated with statues of dragons and phoenixes and probably other celestial creatures!

I also like the pagoda-like tower, which was also decorated with lanterns!

See the key hole shaped door? Love that!

It was not as grand as I expected - oh well, probably it looked grand to me when I was a child. The Kek Lok Si Temple in Penang is definitely grander.

This is the incense or joss sticks burner in front of the temple. Sort or reminded me of those joss sticks burners I saw in the Jian Shan Temple in Yangshuo, China.

We stepped into the temple but we were not there to pray.

I am not sure if it's all right to take photos of people inside the temple especially if they are posing in front of the deities, but I just had to take the photo of this man taking a photo!

The prayer hall houses 3 altars - each for one deity or goddess. I am not sure if I got this right (please correct me if I am wrong, thank you!) but I think the altar on the left is dedicated to Shui Wei Sheng Niang (The Goddess of the Waterfront)

The altar in the middle belongs to Goddess Tian Hou (The Heavenly Mother)

And the altar on the right is dedicated to Guan Yin (The Goddess of Mercy)

The wall surrounding the temple is also decorated with tiles of these deities.

Frankly, I was quite impressed with the artistic carvings on the ceilings. Beautiful!

If you have not visited the Thean Hou Temple before, do give it a visit! Even though it is not as grand as the Kek Lok Si Temple in Penang, the ornate carvings and intricate embellishments make this temple a worthwhile visit!


Walking The Terrace Of The Elephants

Posted by : foongpc | Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Published in


After the rather disappointing tour of Baphuon (as it was still under restoration works), Jam, his friend and I proceeded to our next destination - The Terrace Of The Elephants.

As it is located just next to Baphuon in the city of Angkor Thom, we just walked over. Can you see how near is Terrace Of The Elephants from Baphuon in the map below?

So why was it named Terrace Of The Elephants? Well, that's because there were intricate carvings of elephants on the terrace wall!

Built in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII in the Bayon architectural style, the Terrace was used by the King as a platform from which to view his victorious returning army. It was also said to be used as a viewing stand for public ceremonies as well as served as a base for the king's grand audience hall.

The terrace wall is approximately 2.5 metres tall and 350 metres long. It is attached to the Phimeanakas Temple of which only a few ruins remain.

Besides elephants, the terrace wall was also carved with nagas (7-headed serpent), demons and garudas. Garuda is a large mythical bird that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology.

garuda carving

Walking along the terrace platform with naga railings, I spotted many more carvings.

Like this one below.

There were stairs leading up to a higher platform.

We soon reached the entrance to the Phimeanakas Temple.

As the Phimeanakas was not part of our itinerary, we did not venture inside. I just took some photos of the gate.

There were some intricate carvings on the structure.

We left the Phimeanakas gate and continued to walk on the terrace platform. Then I saw what looked like a lotus flower made of rocks!

I wanted to climb higher but there's a warning sign with the words "No Climbing".

Oh! What are these? Would you like to take a guess?

Actually they are the top parts of the elephants' heads! Haha! Can you see them in the photo below together with that lotus flower in the middle?

At the side of the terrace, there were many more intricate carvings.

Can you see the image of an elephant and its mahout here?

I was quite amazed at the carvings on the front terrace wall!

There were stairs leading down and we decided to descend those steps.

At the bottom, I could see this five-headed horse. And I thought they only have seven-headed serpent!

Picture of the five-headed horse from the side.

There were also carvings of what looked like dancers.

I came upon a very narrow passageway and felt a little claustrophobic so I decided not to stay too long there!

Then from where I stood, I saw a silhouette of Simba, the Lion King!

Of course it was no Simba. Haha! Climbing up the stairs and back at the top, I realized it was a life size lion statue.

It's best to visit Terrace Of The Elephants before noon as the wall faces east, hence you get the best lighting for photography.

Next to the Terrace Of The Elephants is the Terrace Of The Leper King. It was not in our itinerary but since it was nearby, we just walked over and took some photos. The terrace wall also displayed a lot of intricate carvings.

There is supposed to be a statue of the Leper King at the top of the terrace but we did not have the time to climb up, so I did not take any photos of it.

It was late in the morning by the time we left Terrace Of The Elephants and Terrace Of The Leper King. That was the last time I stepped my foot in Angkor Thom.

Coming Up Next : The Children Of Preah Khan

Wishing on a Falling Star