Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Blessed Day at Thean Hou Temple

It was sunny morning and a truly pleasant visit to the Thean Hou Temple a week ago. The atmosphere was different from previous evening visits to attend events. That morning, there was a constant flow of tourists from the Middle East and Italy and a young bride was having her special moments being photographed.

Judging from the eager chatter and the numerous clicking of the cameras, the visitors were enjoying the reverent ambience of Thean Hou Temple. I spoke to the security guard, G, who reaffirmed that it is a favourite destination among local and tourists. On prayer days, he says he has no time to sit !! So, today, was a relaxing change.

The Thean Hou Temple welcomes one with its imposing red and brilliant architecture. Sprawled in 1.67 acres of land, it is amongst the largest Chinese temples in South East Asia. It was built during 1981 -1987 by the Hainanese community,a sub group of the Chinese community. Since then, Thean Hou Temple has attracted many devotees and visitors. Goddess Thean Hou is the patron of the Hainanese and the presiding deity in the holy shrine .

The Grand Temple has elements of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Facing the Temple, on the grounds, is a big urn. The main entrance of the Temple boasts of a multiarched doorway with red pillars. Walk up the steps , there is an altar with a smaller urn . On the altar are lotus candles and offerings for the Gods.

Before entering the temple, everyone leaves their shoes on the steps to enter the temple proper. Inside, I could feel an air of reverence. In the bustle of the day, there's always time for some solitude and pray. I felt the same too with the Thean Hou ( Goddess of Heaven ), Guan Yin ( Goddess of Mercy) and Shui Wei Sheng ( Goddess of the Waterfront) looking over us.

It was a great time for shutterbugs . The dome above is finely crafted with 96 gold- plated Goddesses placed all round. The carved dragons on the altar are gold plated. The rich Chinese architectural ceiling , eaves , cornices , columns and murals kept those who came with cameras busy indeed! A staff was seen carefully dusting the altars and keeping them clean for the Gods.

Several visitors wanted to find out their luck with the 'fortune sticks'. I did too. With a prayer in your heart, just pick all the sticks and drop them back into the holder. Then pick one . My stick says No. 22 and I looked round the revolving 'closet' for no. 22. I pulled out the drawer and took out a pink piece of paper. It says:
'Great Minds Mature Late - The famed Chinese sage Chiang had to wait until after the age of 80 before he was appointed to high post in the emperor's court. You , too, have to exercise great patience for the opportunity to come by, if you aim to reach great height .' Best of all, it says, 'Matrimony : Successful.' That REALLY made my day!

I visited the Tortoise pond and there I found D, the gardener, taking a rest. He told me about the herb garden and the garden grounds he has been looking after for the past 15 years or so.

The security guard kept a watchful eye on the visitors as they placed their shoes respectfully on the steps before entering the temple proper. As with all visitors, he kindly offered some books and dvds for me to take home . I gladly helped myself to some for greater understanding of Buddhism.

For so many reasons, my visit to the Thean Hou Temple was a blessed day. I found the place serene and I got the chance to offer some prayers for peace in our troubled world and the people dear to me. And what a treat, to be under the roof of a building of great architectural significance. Also, in the grounds, I 'bumped' into Mahsa and her family , from Iran.

It all started when I greeted,' Hi, where are you from? and 'Hope you're enjoying Kl.' Mahsa's mother then chipped in to say that she wanted to correspond with me - just like that !! But how as she does not write English? The tour bus was waiting ; quickly Mahsa jotted down her email address and that she would be in touch . By then, her father and cousin had gathered and she introduced them to me. Someone took a quick shot of us as Mahsa hugged me. I really couldn't believe that my day at Thean Hou Temple would end on such a high note.

And then there was Andy, from Yorkshire, UK who volunteered to take a picture of me beside the tiger, one of the animals of the Chinese astrological calendar . Soon, he was joined by his mother and sister. They had spent a whole 10 days in Kuala Lumpur to attend their relative's wedding to a Malaysian at the Sri Kandaswamy temple , Jalan Scott, Brickfields. They just heaped praises for our 'lovely country but hey, it's hot!'

Persatuan Hainan Selangor & WP
65 Persiaran Endah, Off Jalan Syed Putra
50460 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: + 6 03 2274 7088


  1. Stunning photos Keats, I always love temples of all kind..great photo opportunity for sure. Have a great week ahead..;hugs/m

  2. I enjoyed every word of your post, every little detail was so interesting. And I can just imagine how people can just easily warmed up to you. I liked what it said about your mind and marriage too, somehow I imagined it was so true :)

  3. I lived many years in Asia, your post, both writing and pics has taken me back to those times; what a pleasure!

  4. Its a very interesting post
    and so lovely to read it !!!
    You are a good writter :)
    I never seen such a colorful temple in real.
    Its a BEAUTY :)
    I wish i could visit it ones ;)
    Have a wonderful day
    Anya :)

  5. Hi
    M. Kate, I do want to improve on my photography . I admire your pics always. There was a workshop at the NST awhile ago but I do not have an SLR, so I didn't do it. have to wait :)

    Ocean Girl, thank you! I saw the visitors were eager to find out more about themselves, at least out of curiosity!

    Laura in Paris, I'm really happy you enjoy the posts and they bring back some good ol' memories. Like amny others,when I look back at the many, many old photos in our albums, it's really fascinating what we've been up to and forgotten!

  6. Such a nice and colorful temple and I love the candles...It looks like a place that brings immediate joy..

  7. Sounds like an enjoyable visit, with unexpected opportunities to make new friends! Way to go, Keats! You seem to make new friends at every turn!

  8. I always find that you have the most colorful and interesting posts. I feel like I am seeing it in person.

  9. HI
    Turquoise Diaries, the lotus flower is a very poignant representation of Buddhism - purity, compassion and long life. Pink lotus , I'm told is reserved for the highest deity.

    wenn, thank you!

    ~Covert_Operations'78~, yeah, a blessed day!

    Lucy, thanks so much. the pictures help to tell my story too. Hope you're feeling better:))

  10. This is a really wonderful post you wrote about Thean Hou temple & your experiences in making new friends there. I had my marriage registration done at this temple, where I wore a red kebaya top which made me 'blend' in perfectly well with the temple's background :). It is a beautiful temple and if you have noticed, it seems to be the favored location, year after year, for all those Chinese New Year song and dance programs.

  11. Hi
    petite nyonya, good to know your marriage registratin took place at the temple. I'm pretty sure the red kebaya would have looked stunning as it just accentuated the bright colours around you :)) Red = auspicious !

  12. You've got one peel:) TQ for sharing the gods

  13. Absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.
    I have a set of fortune sticks at home - they are fun to consult once in a while. :)

  14. Hi
    Bananaz, thanks for the golden peel :))

    adrienne, gosh, you have the fortune sticks at home ?? do your friends consult them too?

  15. Nice and well maintained temple!

  16. Hi Keats! I’m back home and happy to come here!! Wonderful post, excellent pictures. Something new for me to visit next time I'm around...

    Meanwhile Blogtrotter is showing you an incredible sea symphony of colours. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

  17. Beautiful temple, beautiful young bride... beautiful, beautiful flower candles! I love your post, Keats :)

  18. Hi
    Pete, thanks so much for visiting my blog:))

    GMG, Good to hear from you. You have shown us the wonderful places I'd just dream of visiting, always excellent views too. Do visit Malaysia when you globe trot here!

    ROSIDAH, also, thanks for your beautiful words :))) have a beautiful day !

  19. Once again, great pics!!

    Have a great weekend, Keats!!

  20. I've forgotten to mention that I voted again!!


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