|Temple hidden in the trees|
Perhaps the most well known of all the Ipoh Temples is, however, the Perak Cave Temple (Perak Tong). Ipoh is surrounded by limestone hills which make spectacular locations for the cave temples. Most of these hills are in small ranges but the one in which Perak Tong is built is rather isolated and seems to stand on its own in the middle of an industrial area full of warehouses and second hand car lots.
|A goddess of fortune...and me!|
I first saw this temple when I got lost in the early days of living in Ipoh and saw the ponds out of the corner of my eye. I resolved to go back one day. It is a comparatively recent temple, built by a Chinese immigrant family in the 1920s and still managed by their descendants today.
|Entering the cavern|
The eyecatching ponds, guarded by a goddess and situated between the temple and the road are rather a disappointment close to. They are very dirty and devoid of life except hungry mosquitoes. If they were a disappointment, however, the temple was most certainly not. From the outside it looks rather ordinary. The inside, however, is anything but.
We expected to see a cavern but the interior is a cathedral, it was huge. In the outer chamber there was a large statue of a seated Buddha flanked by guards on either side wall. There was a main altar for prayer offerings and a gigantic bell to ring to draw the attention to your devotions. The walls of the temple are covered with drawings, some naïve some spectacular works of calligraphy.
Going through to the rear portion of the cave there are a number of smaller ‘side chapels’ each with their own altar and again covered in calligraphy. At the very back you come to the stairs (all 450 of them) which lead from the base of the cave up to the buildings at the top of the hill. The steps are steep and rather narrow in some places and although there are plenty of places to rest, the heat the climb can be quite enervating.
|Statue in a side chapel|
|Steps to the cave top|
|Paths over the hill|
|Plenty of places to rest|
|A sadly uninspiring view marred by haze|
Although not the best of the Ipoh temples the Perak Tong is probably the most well-known. As a result it does seem to get more visitors than the others, it is also easy to find as from the Ipoh Bypass you simply take road no 1 to Sungai Siput. I took my father on a visit the day before he flew home. The children were in school, the baby asleep at home (with a babysitter) and it seemed the ideal way to finish off a trip to Ipoh. It is certainly a good place to while away a few hours and one to which we will return to show Mr EE and the children.
|The ubiquitous temple dog|
Posted as part of the new Travel at Home monthly linky.