Story of Ipoh's cave temples chronicled in new book

Seven local temples were profiled in the book. ― AFP pic
Seven local temples were profiled in the book. ― AFP pic

IPOH, Jan 7 — After some 20 months of research and study, the book Historical Records and Legends of the Cave Temples in Ipoh has finally been published.

A joint collaboration between Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) researchers, China Social Science Press and the Perak state government's non-Islamic affairs unit, the book details the history of Ipoh's iconic cave temples.

Co-researcher Toh Teng Chuan said five Masters and undergraduates were involved in researching the 276-page book.

"Two students were based in Ipoh and their duty was to go around the city looking for caves. Initially the state government had wanted us to cover Kinta Valley that include Batu Gajah, Gopeng and Ipoh.

“However in two months, we managed to find more than 30 caves in Ipoh and the state decided we confined our research to just Ipoh," he said.

Speaking to reporters here today after Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir launched the book, Toh said the research team decided on the seven caves that made it into the book as they were gazetted historical sites.

The seven temples are Loong Thow Ngam Tao, Sam Poh Tong, Nam Thean Tong, Nam To Ngam, the Perak Cave Temple, Kong Fook Ngam, and the Tung Wah Tong Buddhist meditation centre.

The oldest is the Kong Fook Ngam temple in Kampung Kepayang, built in 1890.

"At least there are proper records on the caves. The other caves only had verbal history," he explained.

Toh said this was the first time research was conducted on the caves in Ipoh.

In his speech, Zambry said the book would provide an in-depty view of some of the religious activities in the state.

He then urged the public to value peace and not allow extremism to take root.

"Please maintain the harmonious atmosphere. If not there will be no religious harmony and prosperity," he said.

Also present at the launch was state non-Islamic affairs executive committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon.

The book is priced at RM188 per copy and is currently available only through the Perak Heritage Society.

Those interested to purchase the book may visit the society at 85C, Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil, Ipoh or contact it by fax at 05-253 5507.

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