A little piece of paradise
Nestled among the hills on the Selangor-Negri Sembilan border, Broga Sak Dato Temple is like a little piece of paradise. -The Star, ANN
NESTLED among undulating hills on the Selangor-Negri Sembilan border, the Broga Sak Dato Temple is like a little piece of paradise.
Not only is the temple the backbone of the quaint Broga village, it has been attracting tourists and worshippers by the thousands since it was expanded 16 years ago.
Located on 0.73ha, it is nothing to shout about as far as size is concerned, but it is blessed with both natural and man-made attractions.
The prayer halls, adorned with antique artefacts and intricate carvings, near a landscaped garden that, interestingly, is named the Orchard of the Fruits of Kindness.
Statues of Chinese folklore characters and giant replicas of local fruits line the side of a sculptured staircase that zig-zags through the hillside garden, which is guarded by the Monkey King perched atop a boulder. Fish ponds and oriental gazebos add to the charm.
The staircase leads visitors to an ornamental arch called "The Dragon Gate", which opens to a serene view of clear skies and green hills. Statues of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac and mythical animals are lined near the arch for photo opportunities.
"The temple structures were designed by a feng shui master who stumbled upon a cave where the local folk had been worshipping the Sak Dato deity about 120 years ago," said the temple's committee member, C.K. Lim, who oversees charitable activities.
"According to the master, the local fruits are meant to make this place vibrant all year round as they represent the different seasons of the year," he said.
Word has it that the master, who was Lim's close friend, recognised the area's great feng shui and together they sought the permission of Sak Dato through prayers to develop the then crude place of worship.
It is said that a member of the committee who took care of the small village temple had even dreamt of driving up in a car before they arrived.
The development initiative generated overwhelming response among the villagers and the temple has been popular ever since.
And, it is not only worshippers and tourists who have been streaming in; donations have, too.
In the light of this development, the committee set out to channel the funds to the most deserving recipients and hence the Orchard of the Fruits of Kindness foundation was established in 1992.
Funds are channelled every month from the foundation to poor people carefully vetted by a 14-member committee. From a modest RM4,000 a month back in 1992, the foundation now gives out between RM30,000 and RM50,000 monthly to the recipients.
So far, there have been a total of 181 monthly donations totalling about RM3mil given out to some 3,000 people.
"We are thankful to the worshippers for being so charitable.
"They come from near and far; some even from as far as Singapore, Johor and Penang.
"An anonymous donor from Brunei has been supporting us for more than 18 years and now donates about RM15,000 every year," Lim said.
The temple also emphasises the importance of education by rewarding the high scorers in the village.
"Our contribution is nothing; we are only acting as a conduit that channels the donations to the right recipients in accordance with the donors' wish to help the needy," said treasurer Yong Kin Leong.
"The committee members are grateful for the chance to do this. We derive happiness from it when we hear that a patient gets well, a child achieves his or her ambition and this place is well received by the villagers and visitors," he said.
It is learnt that the temple would be further developed as a tourist destination. The committee has secured another 6.48ha to build more facilities for visitors, including a jungle-trekking trail, suspended bridge and a children's playground.
Meanwhile, the committee is organising a dinner tonight to raise funds for the Sichuan earthquake victims.
A table for 10 is being sold from RM1,000, and all proceeds will be presented to a representative of the China Embassy at the function. The committee is bearing all expenses for the dinner.
The temple is located at No. 4, Jalan Besar, Broga, Negri Sembilan. For details, call 016-693 4068 (Yong), 012-656 4636 (Lee) or 03-8761 0035.
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