Saturday, March 19, 2011

CAPTURE 11 : Snake Temple (Hock Kin Keong)

Main Entrance
Snake Temple The Snake Temple is one of the oldest temples in Penang, Malaysia. It is located in Sungai Kluang, a short distance from the Bayan Lepas International Airport. This temple is built to honor Chor Soo Kong, a Buddhist monk who was believed to possess healing power and had rendered selfless service to the community around. His selfless action and wisdom made him a deified figure.  The temple was built in around 1850 and the statue of Chor Soo Kong was brought from China and installed in the temple. 

Symbol of power and protection
Symbol of Courage, Luck and Protection
From the outside there is nothing grand or unique about this temple as the architecture reflects almost the same designs with many other Chinese Temples in Malaysia. At the entrance to the temple there is a giant incense burner, and most of the time one can see incense burning in this temple. This is done as part of the prayers, to offer gratitude or to make petitions requesting for some assistance for a wish or desire to come true. Diversity is the law of life, thus goes the beliefs. It is believed that this monk once gave protection to the snakes around the area, and once the temple completed the snakes made this as their abode. Only God knows what prompted that. People come from many places to offer their prayers as petitions and mark of gratitude for request fulfilled. I believe he is still doing that service from beyond for those who choose to allow his healing energy to seep into their body-mind-soul. Of course, faith counts here. Do not judge or brush aside this tale as superstitious. This healing energy need no prove, but devotion and faith on the ability of the healer to direct the energy to achieve his/her goal.

Now back to the snake story. It is said that there used to be a big number of snakes in the temple. But now, the number of snakes can be literally counted. This can be attributed to the effect of modernization and rapid development in the surrounding areas. At first glance one may not see anything though the snakes are there coiled on the branches. They camouflage themselves very well. Though poisonous, there is no known cases of people bitten by the snakes. Rationalists claim that the constant burning of incense and joss sticks in the temple has a kind of hypnotic effect on the snakes. I am not sure of this, but I dare you to touch one and walk away alive. One uncle in the temple assured me that the snakes are not de-fanged or drugged.

At the back of the main prayer hall, is another prayer hall dedicated to Goddess of Mercy or Kuan Yin. It was quite and not many incense or joss sticks offered here. There was a serene aura prevailing in this hall, and I enjoyed being part of it. Between the two halls there is a small garden with a few trees, one of which is chikoo plant.


A round gate..not sure where it is heading to
On one corner of the roof...intricate design

There are number of souvenir shops on both sides of the entrance to the temple. Tourists get to see many pretty little souvenirs related to Isle of Penang or the temple itself, and also toys to mesmerize the children. Well, it is all about survival, right?

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1 comment:

venus66 said...

Very informative. Thank you for sharing.