Ipoh’s once-forgotten and rediscovered Da Seng Ngan cave temple

Tokong Da Seng Ngan is a cave temple located at the foot of Gunung Rapat on Jalan Gopeng, Ipoh.

Gunung Rapat is an impressive limestone karst tower that contains a number of other nearby cave temples such as Perak Kwan Yin Tong (next door), Sam Poh Tong, Nam Thean Tong, Ling Sen Tong and Kek Lok Tong.

Once covered under mud, the temple is slowly upgrading and expanding today. (Malaysia Traveller pic)

The history of Da Seng Ngan Temple

The temple, which was established over 100 years ago, has an interesting history.

It was struck by a flash flood in 1974, which caused a mudslide that washed tons of mud and rubble into the cave and submerged the whole area.

The temple lay covered under the mud, undisturbed and largely forgotten for the next 32 years until it was re-excavated in 2006, a job which took several months.

Century-old artefacts such as copper statues were found after the temple’s re-excavation. (Malaysia Traveller pic)

In the process of uncovering the temple, they found century-old artefacts such as copper statues, urns and ceramics.

Since its rediscovery, the temple has been slowly upgrading and expanding.

Da Deng Ngan Temple today

The golden statues are sponsored by devotees. (Malaysia Traveller pic)

The approach to the temple is impressive with a lineup of golden buddha statues reflected in the pond.

Coming from the Perak Kwan Yin Tong temple next door, you will cross the pond or stream by means of a metal bridge.

The aim is to eventually have 1,000 of these golden statues. Many are sponsored by devotees whose names are inscribed on plaques next to each statue.

Sponsorship is said to bring the donor blessings and a better life. However, that doesn’t mean you can commit all kinds of sins and get them all forgiven in exchange for money.

Of course, the donation of money is no substitute for leading a good and decent life.

More statues await in this building. (Malaysia Traveller pic)

A solid-looking building encloses the entrance to the cave and has probably been designed to withstand any future flash floods.

A panoply of Buddhist statues awaits the visitor, depicting Buddhas in Amitabha, Shakyamuni and Maitreya forms, Guan Yin, Cundi, Heavenly Kings and various Bodhisattvas and Arhats.

A cosy shop selling books and CDs on Buddhism is tucked away at the rear of the cave.

With the low ceiling and the circular doorway, it may remind visitors of a Hobbit house except it has a pond for liberating fish and more statues outside.

A Hobbit house lookalike in Ipoh. (Malaysia Traveller pic)

Malaysia Traveller

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