God of Earth’s Shrine
There’s two main gods in every temple. Besides the temple’s protective home God, there must be an Earth God. The worshipping rituals usually starts from paying respect to Tian (Heaven) then continued on to Tei (Earth God). The God of Earth or Hok Tek Ceng Sin is the god of fortune and blessings.
People usually pray to God of Earth asking for their land’s fertility, pest-free crops and abundant amount of harvest. But that doesn’t mean only a farmer can pray and ask for God of Earth’s help. People also can ask for health, welfare, peace and fortune in their business to God of Earth.
At the God of Earth’s Shrine, you may see his guardian – Houw Ciang Kun which is present in the shape of black tiger. In front of the shrine, there are two gate keepers: Ue Tek Kiong and Sie Siok Po. God of Earth’s born day is celebrated every 2nd day of the 2nd month in Chinese lunar calendar.
Meanwhile, 15th day of the 8th month in Chinese lunar calendar becomes the day for people to pay gratitude to God of Earth’s generosity. This day is known commonly as the Harvest Festival or Mooncake festival. People will give mooncakes as a gratitude to abundant amount of harvest and fortune they received this year.
Kyai Juru Mudi / The Captain’s Tomb
When Admiral Zheng He’s vessel arrived at Java island for the second times, his captain – Wang Jing Hong or Ong Keng Hong suddenly fell ill. His illness quite serious that the need immediate care and total rest. Wang can not continue his journey with Zheng He and stayed in Semarang to recover himself. A stone cave in Simongan beach becomes his sanctuary.
After full recovery, Wang decided to stay and lived in Simongan. He got along with the locals, start building houses and farming. His effort made the surrounding environment develop greatly. The locals becomes more prosperous than before.
Wang died at the age of 87 years old and buried besides the Sam Poo Kong’s stone cave. The burial site then known commonly as The Captain’s Tomb (Makam Kyai Juru Mudi). Citizen of Semarang and its surroundings often come to visit The Captain’s Tomb to pray and ask for blessings. Especially every Kliwon Tuesday or Kliwon Friday night.
Sam Poo Kong / Sam Poo Tay Djien’s Shrine
Here’s the main area for people who wants to pray to Sam Poo Kong. This place also known as Gedung Batu (Stone Building) because the exterior wall covered by beautiful stone reliefs. It tells all the Admiral Zheng He’s expedition stories in the 15th century which happened for a good long 30 years. The stone used for these reliefs comes from China while the carving was done by a Balinese artist.
Inside the Stone Building, it’s the praying area. There’s two small statue which represents Admiral Zheng He’s arrival to Semarang. The first statue was made from sandalwood and the face is black. This is representing Zheng He’s first arrival on 1406. At that time, he’s still young, around his 30s or 40s. The second statue was made from porcelain and the face is red. This is representing Zheng He’s second arrival on 1416. The trace of aging can be found on his face.
On the left and right of his side, there are Zheng He’s private guardian’s (tay jiang) statue. Their names are Tio Kee and Lauw Im. Their statues were made from sandalwood as well. Sitting in the middle, a big Sam Poo Kong’s statue made from gold and bronze can be seen. But interestingly, this grand statue hold no important meaning. Just a mere symbol. The two little statue (red and black faced) are the most important and meaningful.
Inside this Stone Building, you can also found a well. Actually, this well is one of Oey Tiong Ham’s legacy. The water drawn from the well considered sacred and believed to be able to fulfilling wish. Such as fortune in business, farming or healing sickness. The well’s water also often used in a traditional marriage rites, hoping the couple’s married life to be happy forever after.
However, the well’s water are prohibited to be used for oath, divorce or drinking water. Visitors can get water from the well only under the assistance of Bio Kong (the temple’s caretaker). Visitors or worshippers need to explain their intention first to Bio Kong before getting the water. Bio Kong then will pray the water.
Kyai Djangkar / The Anchor’s Tomb, Kong Hu Cu Shrine and Hoo Ping Spirit House
This particular building differs from the other buildings which only house one god or one tomb. In this place, we can see The Anchor’s Tomb (Makam Kyai Djangkar) placed at the most left side.
This is believed to be the location where the lifeboat’s anchor dropped when Admiral Zheng He first came to Java. The anchor was initially found at the Kuping River. While the vessel’s anchor dropped at Rembang. Many people come to The Anchor’s Tomb to pray and ask for fortune in their business or office work.
Next to the tomb, there’s a shrine for Kong Hu Cu doctrine’s founder. Located in the middle, the Kong Hu Cu shrine also took the biggest space.
Next to it, there’s Hoo Ping Spirit House at the right side of the area. Hoo Ping spirits is a name for all dead spirits which not being taken care by their family. All those lonely spirits gathered here to be prayed. The Hoo Ping Spirit day celebrated three times in a year. One day before Chinese New Year, during Qing Ming festival (Tomb Sweeping Day) and Ulambana ceremony (15th day on the 7th month in Chinese Lunar calendar).
Nyai Cundrik Bumi / The Sacred Dagger’s Sanctuary
In the past, this area was dedicated as an heirloom storage and treatment center. But nowadays, there’s no longer valuable sacred dagger or any heirloom stored here. This area was kept to symbolize the important purpose it had in the past. Interesting fact, the original stone cave (where Wang Jing Hong rested and Zheng He’s statue first stood) was supposed to be here before it is moved because of a landslide.
What you must see here: The Chain Tree
Spare a little time to look above you when you are in The Sacred Dagger’s Sanctuary. You will see a very unique tree. This old tree’s branch looks like a big chain. Like the one used in a vessel. You might never see a natural wonder like this somewhere else.
Kyai Nyai Tumpeng / The Chef’s Shrine
Kyai Nyai Tumpeng was Admiral Zheng He’s chef. Her real name is Han Li Bao. She’s a Chinese princess before she was taken by Admiral Zheng He to work at his vessel as a chef. This shrine was not existed before. It was only an empty land until a shaman came here to pray. He’s possessed and yelling “Tumpeng! Tumpeng”. Since then, the Sam Poo Kong Foundation decided to made this area as Han Li Bao / Kyai Nyai Tumpeng’s shrine.