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Bei Di Miao
Bei Di Miao

Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板

Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板.

Location: Papan, Perak / 甲板, 霹雳州.

Papan is known to be the oldest town in the Kinta Valley. It was originally a timber town where the famous tropical Chengai hardwood was sawn. It was in the late 19th century that this town began to boom. This was due to the surrounding tin mining activities. It once had more than 100 shop-lots and buildings but today, many of these old building is in a dilapidated stage. This small town too has seen its fair share of action, this includes the Papan riot (1887-1889) and the Japanese Occupation.

After a visit to an aborigines village in Kampung Pos Slim, we headed toward this historical town. It was beginning to drizzle when we arrived. The mist in the nearby hills is building up and scenery was just breathtaking. This would be my second visit here. My first, was about the same time last year but this temple was closed then. Neighbouring a chinese cemetery, this temple is situated on the road leading to the main street of this almost abandoned town. The word abandoned sounds harsh but that’s the reality as the younger generation has moved to bigger towns for better prospects leaving only those that loves the countryside.

Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板

<Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板 2

Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板 3Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板 4

Upon arrival, we were greeted by Mr Cheong Lia, the care taker of this old temple. A local born, he told us that he has only been taking care of this premise for about 3 years to date and through him, i came to know a little about how life was during the Japanese occupation and the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) in this small town. As he was introducing us around, he reiterate a story that his grandmother told him on how this temple came about. According to him, This exact location is actually an old sawmill. On one of the evenings, a group of saw-miller’s witness an apparition image of the Goddess Guan Yin in the mill and from then on the sawmill was converted into a temple. This temple is said to be built-in 1847 and was rebuilt in bricks in 1898. (*1)

Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板 5

Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板 6

Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板 7Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板 8

There is a few altar enshrined in this temple. Its centre altar is dedicated to the worshipped of the Guan Yin Pu Sa / 觀音菩薩. An altar to the right is dedicated to Guan Sheng Da Di / 關聖大帝, while the altar to the left is dedicated to Tian Hou Niang Niang / 天后娘娘. Other deities enshrined in this temple includes Tai Sui / 太歲, Da Bo Gong / 大伯公, Men Gong / 門神, Cai Shen Ye / 財神爺 and its Na Du Gong / 嗱督公 is located in an individual shrine built at the courtyard. Based on smaller banners and tablet found on the main altar, i do believe there are other deities enshrined here before but not seen on the altar today. Not too sure about the reason but it would be great to know.

On the side wall, There is an antique bell hanging below a drum. This antique bell is inscribed with a date 32nd year of Guang Xu in chinese character. That translate to 1906 of the gregorian calendar. During this time, papan town was already at its booming peak. Among other items here that has seen a century is an offering table that is located in the prayer hall. Now what’s unique about this offering table is that it consist of many carve figure of miniatures on its frontal section. These miniatures could be of celestial deities, or sometimes, the whole piece or carving tells a story of deities or even an event that had long happened. Unfortunately this table is gradually eroding away due to the elements. I do hope the temple committee would preserve this beautiful table for future generation.

Well, the sun is setting and I really wish I had more time to spare here as there are still many question lingering in my head. For one, the neighbouring cemetery, it would be good to know which came first. The temple or the cemetery. Both has seen much over the century and I believe if more research is done here, much precious historical information would be uncovered.

Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板 9

Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板 10

Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板 11

Below:-Just a few day ago, through social media, a friend had send me an century old photo of this temple but unfortunately, the photos wasn’t clean to be used here. Even Mr Cheong has not seen this photo and is very keen to know more himself. A visit to the association proves futile as it was already closed for the day. It was while doing a read up on this historical papan town that I came across the same but cleaner photo in a book called Kinta Valley – Pioneering Malaysia’s Modern Development(*2). And with thanks to the authors, we are able to reproduce it here. This photo was taken around the 1930s by Raja Ya’qub (1877-1944), son of Raja Bilah (1834-1911) , the famous chieftain of the Mandailings people in Perak.

Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板 12

Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板 13


*1- Generations: The Story of Batu Gajah- Ho Tak Ming – p102

*2- Kinta Valley: Pioneering Malaysia’s Modern Development By Salma Nasution Khoo, Abdur-Razzaq Lubis – p166.

Location Map / 神廟地圖

Click here to open location in GOOGLE MAP / 點擊這裡打開谷歌地圖

Guan Yin Gu Miao-Papan / 觀音古廟-甲板 – My Time – – Cataloging Chinese temples in Malaysia / 記錄馬來西亞廟宇文化.

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