The mother of all Chinese temples in Java
Jakarta’s grandest temple
Jakarta's sprawling metropolis has no less than 140 klentengs (Chinese temples), and this Jin de Yuan temple is the oldest and grandest of them all. Measuring over 3,000 square meters, this Buddhist sanctuary with Taoist elements dates back to the mid-17th century.
The Jin de Yuan temple has some fascinating animal creatures you wouldn't find in any other Chinese temple. The two nagas on top of the roof are mythical Hindu dragons, and the unicorn creatures in the windows are Hindu symbols of prosperity and protection.
The goddess of mercy
The temple, also known as Vihara Dharma Bhakti, is dedicated to Guan Yin, the female goddess of mercy. According to a 1,000-year-old tale, she was the daughter of a mean emperor who forced her to marry a man she didn't love. Much to her father's dismay, Guan Yin refused and decided to become a Buddhist nun.
Chinese New Year
Come here during imlek (Chinese New Year). The mother of all Chinese temples in Java is the busiest place in Jakarta around that time of the year, as Chinese from all over town come here to pray, exchange gifts and celebrate.
Nice to know
The giant candles at the entrance can burn up to six months and weigh up to 300 kilos! They're made locally in North Jakarta and come in two colours: red for celebrations and festivals, and white for funerals.