Chin Swee Temple

Genting Highlands

Chin Swee Cave Temple is a popular tourist attraction and religious site located a few km before the peak of Genting Highlands on a sharp, rocky slope. Originally a cave temple, years of development have produced an expansive physical complex that extends far beyond the altar chamber, rooted in traditional Chinese architecture expressed by ornate prayer halls, colourful statues, opulent archways and its iconic pagoda tower. The temple was built by the founder of Genting (Lim Goh Tong) to venerate Buddhist figure Chin Swee, a year after he constructed the first resort and casino in 1975. The site was chosen as it reminded him of his birth village's landscape in Fujian, China.

Tediously constructed over 18 years with a foundation dug from solid bedrock, modern machinery was eschewed because of the steep terrain that resulted in its unusually long development period. In 1994, Chin Swee Temple was finally open to public, but additonal layers were added over ensuing years to create the sprawling complex visitors see today. Evolved heavily from its roots, the temple no longer pays sole homage to Chin Swee, but a pastiche of Buddhism, Taoism, Shamanism, Confucianism and various other 'isms' from Chinese folk belief. Various deities linked to those beliefs litter the compound in the form of stone statues, sculptures, shrines, altars and paintings - some of light-hearted fantastical imagination, while others of a macabre nature.

The original temple hall that houses the black-faced Chin Swee altar lies below the complex, hidden slightly deep inside a rocky chamber. Some of the prominent structures to explore include the iconic nine-storey pagoda lit by lamps, Sky Terrace - a vast square on top the complex with a view of the valley, 'Ten Chambers of Hell' - a sloping hilltop walk past story-telling statues built into small cave recesses, and finally, a giant 15-meter high Buddha statue wedged between the jungle canopy across the hill. Lim Goh Tong Hall provides temple accommodation for visitors while a vegetarian restaurant serves meals. There is also a cable car station that connects between Awana Skyway and Genting Resort that operates on weekends and public holidays.

Images