Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sam Kow Tong Temple - There Be Dragons

There's stark contrast between the roof design and the interiors of Sam Kow Tong Temple. While dragons populate above, the main prayer hall is less "adventurous", and this is evident upon entry into the temple lobby which has gray walls. There's a diorama of Chinese epic characters but they're mainly concentrated on a tableau. There are a few dragons inside and the main altar is decorated with several picture frames studded with gold bas relief. The deities are smaller too, unlike the huge golden Buddhas of other temples.

Sam Kow Tong Temple is another find borne out of my monorail commutes from KL Sentral to Imbi. The temple is located in the vicinity of KL Sentral, with its entrance along Jalan Thambypillai, parallel to the street where the monorail is (across KL Sentral). Since most of this area is dotted with Indian restaurants and garment shops, finding a Buddhist temple is unexpected. The entrance building is painted pink, and you get to enter through the side of the temple. There's a parking lot directly facing the temple. Hotel Sentral is visible nearby. Admission is free of charge.

I've long realized that the importance of a specific place is different among locals and among tourists. Those who practice their faith will surely render it more importance than those who are merely after beauty and intricate designs. Though this temple isn't particularly fetching to my tourist eye, I am quite sure that it's an important entity among the faithful who find solace in the corners of this dragon-filled temple.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

The temple's side entrance from Jalan Thambypillai.

Temple lobby leading towards the main prayer hall.

Diorama of legendary Chinese characters drawn on tiles.

Main central altar. Notice the golden frames placed side by side.

The back of the temple building along Jalan Thambypillai where the entrance is.

Old Town coffee house at the corner of Jalan Thambypillai.

Traffic along Jalan Thambypillai.


Ola said...

everything looks extraordinary for me but the painting with the Chinese characters is the most wonderful, I would love to have it on my own:)
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Ramakrishnan said...

Another fascinating temple - so colorful and with wonderful dragons.
I have tagged you for the Capture the Colors Contest. How about giving it a try?

eye in the sky said...

@ Ola:

It didn't seem so colorful when I was there, but looking at the photos, I have to say it sure is. :)

eye in the sky said...

@ Ram:

I'd love to be part of that contest. I will try to catch up and join when I am home, as I am on the road - for work this time though. :)

ashok said...

wow! amazing place

eye in the sky said...

Thanks, ashok. :)

NRIGirl said...

A dumb question Eye: what is the significance of dragons for them? Any idea? Do they worship them?

I could google it up of course; but thought you would know...

eye in the sky said...

@ NRIGirl:

It is a valid question actually. The Buddhists don't exactly worship them, but they symbolize power and good fortune. They usually decorate roofs and gates for what they represent.

In Tibetan Buddhism, it's one of the 4 "dignities" - the mythical animals aside from tiger, snow lion and garuda. The garuda, in fact, is more commonly used in southeast Asia so you find them all over temples in Thailand and Laos. :)

Ramakrishnan said...

Ha! Ha! You work for a living too :)

eye in the sky said...


Unfortunately, I do work for a living too. In fact, the 10 previous posts and the next 10 succeeding posts (that will see posting until mid-September) have been written several weeks ago, and pre-scheduled. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to come up with posts for almost a month. :(

Besides, I have to finance my trips so I have to earn my keep. But it's all good. :)

Unknown said...

Exquisite pictures, Eye in the Sky! I was going 'ooh'! 'aah' at every picture. Every photograph is vibrant with rich colors. There are many objects I'd love to grab off the screen LOL !!

eye in the sky said...

Mom with a Dot:

Thank you very much. I was quite surprised how the photos came out as published. I guess the colors really play out well along side the background colors of the blog. :)