In Batam Island, there are basically two kinds of temples: the Hindu temples and the Buddhist temples. One of the most famous temples in the island is the Temple of Da Bo Gong. Also known as Tua Pekong Temple and Vihara Buddhi Bhakti Temple, the temple is the oldest Chinese temple in Batam Island, built to accommodate Buddhism religious activities.
The temple is located in Nagoya City – a busy district of the island – and is quite popular with local Buddhists, judging from the number of devotees it receives daily. The temple was said to be famous for two things originally: harmony and happiness. So, the believers who visit the temple on a daily basis to perform prayers and all kinds of religious rituals, you can say, support these beliefs and are probably expecting these emotional states to be granted or maintained in their lives by visiting the temple.
As expected of a religion that originated from India, Buddhist temples are predominantly designed in Indian style. The Temple of Da Bo Gong, although from first glance obviously adopted Chinese designs in the structure of its roof, in most aspects has a distinctive Indian character written all over it. Its architectural style is also influenced by the local culture and the environs. The walls of the temple are decorated with paintings depicting a life of religious teachings and the courtyard displays several wall paintings as well. The temple is also filled with relief sculptures and a lot of carved statues of Buddhists gods and goddesses.
The Temple of Da Bo Gong was beautifully designed with ancillary temples surrounding the main temple. The temple’s garden was probably its most striking structure. This sacred, almost magical garden is located at the back area of the temple complex. There’s a manmade pond with several stone sculptures in it, a Chinese boat, garden houses, and several Buddha images, all done in bright colors. Visitors are encouraged to linger in the area and tables cocooned by trees were set up so guests may have a lovely time enjoying the scene while resting.
Unlike most old temples, the Tua Pekong Temple, as it is better known to locals, has retained its use as a place of worship and did not just fall into ruins. So, when you come to visit, you will still be able to see Buddhists actually worshipping in the place. And because of its age and the fact that it reflects the history and culture of Batam, the temple is often regarded as one of the historical heritage treasures of the Batam people.
The Temple of Da Bo Gong is just one of the several oldest temples found in the surrounding islands of Batam. But unlike other Buddhist temples built by kings to show their devotion to the religion, this one was made by a Chinese community intent on preserving the teachings of Buddhism. But you don’t need to be a Buddhist to be able to see the Temple of Da Bo Gong. Again, the temple is open to public and visitors are most welcome.