Friday, July 11, 2014

Penang : Temples Cycling Jaunt

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                                             AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                         
Penang : Temples Cycling Jaunt
Penang Island, Penang : 28th June 2014
Solo Ride - Tanjung Tokong>Tanjung Tokong Temple>Mount Erskine>Bodhi Heart>Waterfall Road>Arulmigu Hindu Temple>Gurney Drive>Tanjung Tokong
Distance covered : approx 12.5 km.
Time Start : 5:50 pm   Time End : 10:30 pm (inclg. stops for visiting temple, photos & supper with friends, etc.)
Duration : approx 4 hrs. 40 mins.

Route Recommendations :
1. The route through the Mount Erskine Cemetery was surprisingly serene, very green and shady. And there was an unexpected find of a Buddhist Sanctuary there!
2. The Tanjung Tokong Malay kampung area is a worthwhile place to see village life admist today's modern day living. Plus, the Tanjung Tokong Temple is there, a Chinese temple situated in a Malay village!
3. From afar, the Waterfall Arulmigu Hindu Temple may not look like much. But climbing 513 steps to reach this place was worthwhile as it turned out to be very much better up close.

Victorious pose at main span of 2nd Penang Bridge.
It's been a while since I cycled in Penang. The last time was when we took part in cycling across the new 2nd Penang Bridge. Now I am back on the island again, with my legs itching to cycle. But I always like cycling and visiting places at the same time, so where shall I go? Why not visit a couple of temples which I have, through many years, passed by many times but have not taken the trouble to visit. Temples.... hmm.... that's not a bad idea... Let's go!


View Penang Temples Bike Jaunt (12.5km) in a larger map

From Tanjung Tokong I will head to the Malay village and visit the Chinese temple there. Then, to avoid the main road, I will look for a short cut through the Mount Erskine cemeteries to reach Waterfall Road and visit the Hindu Temple.

5:50 pm - Kicking off the ride with a roll down the Tingkat Hock Hin slope, the skies looks like it's going to rain. Good! It has been a hot season of scorching heat lately and a cooling rain will make riding more pleasant. No worries of getting wet, as long as the rain is not to heavy, it's always nice to ride in a drizzle. I proceeded and headed down Jalan Tanjung Tokong.
It's a late evening start for me, I hope it doesn't get dark to soon.

Further down, I turned left into Jalan Tanjung Tokong Lama. I must say that this is a nice place to ride; the traffic is light and the area is a living, thriving Malay village. One can get to see village life here, it's so near the city and yet life is slower and serene.

And to top it all, there's a Chinese temple right in the midst of this Malay kampung! This is my first destination, a place I have over the years passed by but had never visited.

Inside is an altar with a statue of Kwan Yin presiding over it. Devotees will come pray here often.

At a left annex is a shop selling Buddhist memorabilia like this many-arm statue of Kwan Yin. (... see more of the Tanjung Tokong Temple).

6:20 pm - Ahead on a road to the right, stall-holders at a night market was just starting business. Villagers came out to do some light shopping, while a lady beggar sat on the road asking for alms. This night market is just opposite the Tanjung Tokong police station.

Leaving Tanjung Tokong and using Jalan Mount Erskine I headed for the Waterfall area, my next destination. This road passes through a Chinese cemetery with graves lining both sides and sitting on a slope overlooking the George Town city. With a fantastic view of the city, the cemetery is probably one of the most valuable piece of land on the island, yet it is preserved as a cemetery and hopefully will be so preserved in the future.

Almost at the end of Jalan Mount Erskine, I turned off this busy main road and headed left into the Hokkien Cemetery. The building shown above is where last rites are held before a coffin is taken for burial; after burial relatives will normally return here for lunch. Okay, I better not go into further details lest I sound morbid.

Behind this the road was surprisingly shady and the surrounding very green. With hardly any other traffic, this place is a pleasure to ride on. Yes, those are graves on the left; in fact they lined both sides of this road. Surprisingly, the aura here is not creepy or scary.

The road straight ahead seems to be narrowing. Worried about getting lost, I stopped a motor-cyclist (on of those rare few passing by) to ask for directions. He pointed me the right way and I took a left turn passing through the archway leading to the Cheah Sek Tong Private Cemetery.

6:50 pm - Ahead, I was surprise see a nicely landscaped entrance wall to a place called Bodhi Hearts.
Hey! What's this? Shall I go in?
Might as well since I am here.

The place looks like one of those parks one finds in Japan - green, serene and quiet.

Bodhi Heart is a Buddhist Sanctuary, but it is open to people of different beliefs.

It is a place of calmness away from the hustle and bustle of the nearby city, a retreat to focus on finding one's insights (... see more on Bodhi Heart).

I left the sanctuary to a total change of scenery, riding through a backlane of houses. Oddly, this backlane is called Jalan Gottlieb too. Are there two Jalan Gottlieb in Penang?

7:25 pm - Reached my second destination, the Waterfall Arulmigu Hindu temple. But not really, this is only the lower temple called the Arulmigu Sree Ganeshear Temple.

Oh... OH! It's a climb of 513 steps up to the temple up on the hill top!
So far it has been light cycling and I have not sweated much.
Let's go for it!

And along the climb, there are this meaningful quotations to spur me on.

Reaching the top it was already dark; yet it WAS a meaningful journey as I admired the colourful spire of the temple...

... and was even much more awed by the interior of the temple. It's one of splendour and opulence.

From here there is a captivating scenic view of George Town city.

On the walk down, another quotation which was very relevant to the arduous climb up and also to life itself.

8:35 pm - Just before reaching the bottom another interesting shrine, this one dedicated to the deity Shiva.
Whoa! So enthralled by the place, I had let time fly by and am late for a supper reunion with some old school friends.

I pedalled furiously and reached the Song River Cafe at Gurney Drive almost an hour late. Luckily my friends were still there chatting away, and I joined them to reminiscence about old school days.

It had been a short cycling stint but one that has been very rewarding with visits to interesting spots. One made all the more meaningful with an ending of meeting old buddies.


Related Blogs :

Tanjung Tokong Temple : June 2014
To the locals, this is the temple after which Tanjung Tokong is named after; Tanjung Tokong, Penang.

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Putrajaya : The New Year Eve Interpark Ride

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Penang / Temples Cycling Jaunt
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