The Sam Po Kong Temple is actually a complex of five temples sitting collectively on a 3.2 hectare site. The temples, built alongside each other, look resplendent with its bright red colour and unique Chinese-Javanese architecture. This temple complex was built in honour of the great Chinese-Muslim eunuch Admiral Cheng Ho (“Zheng He” in Pin-Yin) who visited Semarang during one of his voyages in the early 15th century. He has been venerated for bringing Islam to the region and also peace & harmony to the people of Semarang; and here in Semarang there is a big yearly celebration to commemorate this.
The main temple, the Sam Po Kong Temple, is the biggest one with numerous tall red pillars and front main pillars which are beautifully carved with mystical motifs. This temple has three-tiered concentric roofs which have multiple animal figurines lined up along the edges of its curved ends. Attached to the back of this temple is the cave temple which houses an altar and also a small statue of Admiral Cheng Ho. The whole length of the exterior wall at the entrance to this cave is made of beautiful stone sculptures depicting the stories of yore about the admiral’s visit to Semarang some 600 years ago.
Within the temple grounds are also many colourful statues & statuettes of various deities and also a very huge bronze statue of the admiral near the back entrance gate.There is a small entrance fee charged and those who come to pray pay less & are allowed into the prayer halls.
This temple should be on the itinerary of any visitor to Semarang.
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