The beautifully designed Ban Hin Kiong Temple in the heart of Manado’s China Town is 335 years old and is the oldest Chinese temple built here during the Qing Dynasty era in China (1644-1911). It is a house of worship for the Tridharma followers from Manado and the region.
The name Ban Hin Kiong consists of three words, Ban meaning “plenty”, Hin meaning “abundant favors” and Kiong meaning “palace”. Therefore, Ban Hin Kiong means a holy palace that exudes much happiness. At Ban Hin Kiong, a number of annual events are held every Chinese New Year and at Goan Siao or Cap Go Meh.
The Ban Hin Kiong Temple is located at D.I. Panjaitan Street in Manado, which is the center of the city’s China Town where are found many shrines and temples, homes and interesting markets run by Chinese. The temple is strategically located and is easily reached by public transport, by mikrolet or taxis. Visitors can also rent a car or motorcycle to tour China Town.
This red temple looks elegant and attractive with ornaments on all sides. The ornaments are symbols that depict the holy message about the creation of the sky, the earth and human beings. Together they represent the image of God in all his virtues in one integrated, harmonized and complete totality.
On the rear wall you will find carved paintings. The central panel shows a child who is trying to pick a fruit with an old man standing beside him. This symbol means that anyone who plants will enjoy its fruits. There are many other meaningful symbols that remind us about God's powers.
Visitors are allowed to enter the praying area of the Tridharma followers in this three-story building, but must take off their shoes at the front entrance.
The oldest Tridharma temple in the Eastern part of Indonesia, the Ban Hin Kion temple is indeed very unique for its architectural design. You can follow the praying process but not until the third floor. There are 16 types of ritual ceremonies for different purposes.
In addition, this temple with its Chinese classic architecture also holds some regular events to celebrate, such as Imlek (the Chinese new year) and the Toa Peh Kong in February.
The Toa Peh Kong is a Chinese tradition brought here by Chinese ancestors. During these celebrations, the temple is crowded and comes alive with many Chinese cultural attractions such as the Barongsai (the Lion Dance), the ince pia (an invulnerability show), Pikulan (decorated carriages containing religious symbols) and the Kuda Lo Cia. Groups of Chinese dancers, traditional Manado Kabasaran dances and traditional bamboo music complete the colourful procession.
Since the temple is located in Manado’s city center, you can find many hotels to stay, from three-star hotels to smaller accommodation. It takes only about 15 to 20 minutes to reach this temple from any part of Manado.
Since the temple is located within the China Town, you can find many Chinese restaurants and stalls around here. Try the loba, which is sliced pork dipped in tapioca sauces. It is sweet and costs only around Rp 10 thousand per portion.
There is not much to buy in this temple complex because it is basically a house of worship.
It is best to visit the temple in February during Chinese New Year and Cap Go Meh celebrations. Various attractive performances and parades are held for the local community and for tourists.