image by excelsis

I hope everyone had a pleasant Hari Raya and Children's' Day holiday (isn't every day children's' day?). The street is quiet again now that the kids are back at school, although some International schools (like UWC and The Australian School) have the whole week off.

There are still some great things happening here in Singapore, and one that I will definitely try to get to this year is the Kusu Pilgrimage. Kusu Island was recommended by a reader as a pleasant day excursion as there are some lovely bays and beaches and a turtle sanctuary here.

But the island actually has an interesting history and legends attached to it, and every year at this time (during the ninth lunar month) the usually quiet island comes alive with thousands of Taoists making the pilgrimage to the Tua Peking Temple to leave offerings and pray for prosperity, luck, happiness and fertility.

Legend has it that a magical tortoise turned itself into an island to save 2 shipwrecked sailors - a Malay & a Chinese. Ever since, people have been returning to give thanks. Originally just a couple of rocky outcrops on a reef, the island has been extended into 8.5 ha and in 1923 the popular Chinese temple - Da Bo Gong (The Merchant God or God of Prosperity) was built. The temple houses 2 main deities - the Da Bo Gong and Guan Yin. The former is highly regarded as having the power to confer prosperity, cure diseases, calm the sea and avert danger, while Guan Yin is known as the 'giver of sons'.

There are also three holy Malay Shrines on top of a hillock which you can visit by climbing 152 steps. Many devotees come here to pray for wealth, good marriage, good health and harmony. The shrines are also popular with childless couples who pray for children.

The pilgrimage runs from 29 Sep - 28 Oct 2008 and during this time extra ferries operate, so disregard the usual timetable. Ferries still run from Marina South Pier, and tickets are sold on a first-come -first serve basis. Tickets can be bought in advance at the pier which is highly recommended during this busy time.
For an interesting article about the affects of devotees scrawling their lucky numbers on the trees and rocks surrounding the shrines, as well as throwing plastic bags with their lucky numbers into the trees, read this Wild Singapore post.

Ferry tickets on sale at Marina South Pier,
Singapore Island Cruise & Ferry Services Pte Ltd.
Ferries operating from 7am-5pm
Tel: 6534 9339

Monday -Friday
Adults S$14
Children (1-12 years) S$12

Saturday/Sunday/Public Holidays
Adults S$16
Children S$12

Directions: Go to Marina Bay MRT then transfer to bus 402 (approx 8 minutes and alight at last stop). The ferry ride to Kusu from Marina South Pier is about 15 minutes long.


Post a Comment