Sunday, January 28, 2007

Vivekavana Solitude Grove, Bukit Berapit

many times, on the way back from penang, while passing thru permatang rawa heading towards bukit mertajam, i can see a pagoda-like structure perched halfway to the top of the hill far in front of me. curiosity soon have me googling for info about this pagoda - and found out that the location should be berapit hill (bukit berapit).

one evening, armed with the info of the approximate location, i head towards the berapit hill area. driving around the main berapit road, i soon saw a small red sign with a pagoda symbol, pointing towards a housing area. Pearl Garden, to be exact. there are actually some chinese words on the sign board as well, but i can't read those :p.

from Pearl Garden, i can see the pagoda closer on the hill. the next step - find the path that leads up the hill, towards the pagoda. and after going round the housing area, a small road near an area with large clearings is the only probable place to begin. a few cars are parked there as well, and i saw a father and son in "hiking attires". so, this should be the right place to begin...

the trail up is cemented, cutting thru the forest (looks more like abandoned orchard to me). going up, the trail soon branches into two separate trails, going left and right respectively. there's a signboard, but it's in chinese... anyway, as i know the pagoda is located roughly to my left, i took the left trail. i wonder where the right trail leads to; will be back to explore sometimes later.

all in all, it was just a short hike before reaching the pagoda/temple. it is quite interesting seeing a pagoda up on a hill like this. it must be quite some works bringing the building materials up here, as the cemented trail is narrow and quite steep in many areas.

the place consists of many buildings scattered around; prayer rooms, activity rooms, accommodation area, meditation halls etc. which i did not enter - but from the signboard here, this place is open to the public from 7:30 am to 7:00 pm daily.

a few random statues: there a quite a few large statues here which i did not took any photos of, as there were people praying there, and i don't want to intrude...

the pagoda, up-close: the pagoda consists of five tiers. the floor is marble-tiled, and visitors are requested to take off their footwears before stepping onto the pagoda area. small children should be accompanied by adults.

on every tier, a bronze bell is hanging at each of the four corners.

at the topmost tier, there is a large bronze bell at the center, and also a large bronze gong. vandalism is quite evident here, as witnessed on the bronze gong. the surface is marred by various writings made by scrapping the paint away. to my amusement, i can also see many 4D numbers among the graffiti :D

i didn't ring the bell nor the gong, as i wasn't sure whether it's okay for me to do so. i do hear the ringing from the bells on the way down though..

a random flower...

and a view of the sunset from the hill...

sorry, there's no photo of the surrounding areas as viewed from the hill to show here - the air was very hazy, and coupled with the strong sunshine, whatever aerial photos that i took turned out dull and blurry.

as the hillside is facing towards the west, there is plenty of light illuminating the hiking trail late into the evenings. although, when i came down from the hill, my car is the lone one parked at the clearings from where i began my hike. and i don't see much people here; probably, this place is not as popular or well-known as a hiking place compared to Cherok To'kun (Hutan Lipur Bukit Mertajam) which is another hill located just behind this hill.

getting here: from Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (BKE), take the Penanti/Berapit exit, and follow the signboards towards Berapit/Bukit Mertajam. along the way, watch out for Taman Pearl (Pearl Garden) on your left, and turn in here. if you came to a railway crossing, you're way past the place already, so turn back. if you're coming from Bukit Mertajam, look for Pearl Garden on your right. once here, locate the local community clinic (near a school). close to this clinic, you'll find a large grassy area where you can park your vehicles - and nearby, a trail (sloping downwards) leading into the forest. look out for the pagoda on the hill to make sure you're at the right place :p

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your adventure. Good and useful information for anyone who wants to explore the interesting hill temple.