Viewing from over the top, lush green grass and hills stretch and arch, a narrow riverside passage links from the main road to a tranquil place, which is the Ancient Guanyin Temple. Situated just a few kilometres outside of Kuala Kubu Bharu, the Ancient Guanyin Temple has been based here for over a century, went through transitions, and even once left to erode by weather. Presently, the temple is surrounded by lavish trees, on its right side is a pond and a footpath, a peaceful environment with antique buildings.
Ancient Guanyin Temple of Kuala Kubu Bharu (formerly known as Yueshan Guanyin Temple) was built in the autumn of 1904. As the founder of Kek Lok Si Temple in Penang, when the venerable benevolence Beow Lean and his follower benevolence Sian Kheng, were making preparations to build the Kek Lok Si temple, Kuala Kubu Lama became a resting point during their frequent travels between Penang and Kuala Lumpur. As the opportunity arises, benevolence Sian Kheng decided to obtain a spot here to build a branch of Kek Lok Si. Due to the temple’s location in higher terrain surrounded by hills, it was named Yueshan Guanyin Temple, derived from the two words making up the word of Yue: Qiu, and Shan, meaning tall mountains. On a side note, Penang’s Kek Lok Si is located on a hill shaped like a flying crane, hence after building the temple it was named “Huock San”, both correlating to each other.
Since the Ancient Guanyin Temple opened its doors a century ago, it has undergone various changes and suffered several alterations. In 1926 when Kuala Kubu Lama was flooded, almost the entire town was engulfed. Luckily the ancient temple was built on a high slope, and remained safe alongside another mosque. They were not affected by the calamity, thus the villagers sought shelter in the temple. Afterwards, the Japanese occupation brought upon bloodshed, the villagers temporarily lived at the temple to avoid the massacre. Post-war, political turmoil caused the British colonial government to declare a national state of emergency, the ancient temple and its surrounding areas were marked as restricted areas to prevent local inhabitants from reaching out to Malayan communists. Therefore, the villagers moved the Guanyin and Buddha statues into the new village, where they constructed another temple for worshipment. The ancient temple was left to ruin, and slowly forgotten.
Until the 1980’s, the villagers found what remained of the ancient temple amidst rubble, hence a committee was set up to rebuild and develop the temple together with Kek Lok Si in Penang. Repairs were twice carried out, in 1988 and 1994 respectively. In 1994, chief abbot of Kek Lok Si, the Venerable Da Neng took over as second abbot of the rebuilt Yueshan Guanyin temple, and renamed it to Ancient Guanyin Temple.
As the saying goes, things will get better over time, to date the Ancient Guanyin Temple still maintains its original ancient appearance and valuable relics such as an ancient mortar, a copper bell, the entrance etc. The lush greenery and rippling river surrounding the ancient temple generates a heavenly vibe. Crisp bell ringing pierce the hollow mortality, bringing people back to nature, to cleanse each heart from weariness and misadventure.
Text: Daniel Lim & Pua Hui Wen
有你 UNI Production
Producer : Mok Yii Chek
Coordinator : Daniel Lim
Cinematographer : Amelia Lim / Evon Pang
Drone : Daniel Lim
Production Assistant : Michael Lerk
Video Editor : Michael Lerk
Music : Reflective Waters from Felt Music
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