The Hok Tek Bio Temple is one of the cultural heritage in Bogor. It is located at the corner of T-Junction of Suryakencana and Otto Iskandar Street, right next to Bogor Market. It is also known as Mahacetya Dhanagun Temple.
This place is the oldest temple in the rain city. Many says that its age is more than 300 years old. However based on some literature, it may be a bit younger which I will tell later.
The temple provides service for three cults i.e. Buddha, Tao, Confusianism. Worshipers that visit this place are not only coming from Bogor but also from many other cities. Despite of the temple were built and are mainly for the Chinese society that live surrounding Suryakencana Street, many people from other cities pay a visit to this temple.
The history of Hok Tek Bio Temple
As mentioned on the above, the age of the Hok Tek Bio temple is said to be more than 300 years. This means that it was established around the year 1715. However based on some other history literature, it seems the time doesn’t match.
The reason of that is because there was no proof that there was Chinese Ethnic settlement around the area. The history wrote that Chinese ethnic diaspora started entering Bogor in 1740. It was when the East India Government slaughtered more than 10,000 people of Chinese ethnic in Batavia, now known as Jakarta.
The pressure put on Chinese ethnic forced them to get out from Batavia. One of the city where they used to live was Bogor (beside Tangerang). The place allocated for them by the government was in area now known as Suryakencana Street.They were separated from native and also other ethnics. (The common policy in colonialism era). That is why until now the area surrounding the street is also known as the Chinatown of Bogor.
Based on this, the Hok Tek Bio temple establishment should just be started after 1740 after the exodus of Chinese people from Batavia.
The Hok Tek Bio Temple is not big. The space used are not more than 20 M X 20 M in size. Next to the temple sits the busy Bogor Market, the oldest market.
From the structure of the temple, the influence of Chinese ethnic architecture is prominent. It can be seen on the shape and also the ornaments.
On the roof, two dragons stand there . Two lion statue sit in front of the entry door. All are like guarding the temple from any coming enemy.
There are two carved wall on each flanks. One with the Sun Wukong legend is carved and the other is with the Eight Gods Legend from Tang Dynasty. Both of the wall were painted in very attractive colors. Both look like the colored cartoon or anime.
On the entry door, the figure of the guardian God with stern eyes looks like watching the visitors that come through the door. Another dragon shape coiled around one pillar.
The main color of the Hok Tek Bio is Red. The main color of Chinese ethnic.
Unfortunately once, the Hok Tek Bio temple and many others in Indonesia suffered from discriminative policy. It was quite long i.e. 32 years.
After the rebels of Indonesian Communist Party, Indonesia cut off the relation with all communist countries like Russia, Poland and others. Indonesian relation with the People Republic of China was also stopped.
Regretfully, the cut off also affected the Chinese diaspora in Indonesia. All of their activities were under severe control. All types! This includes the cultural activities that must be done behind the curtain. They must not show in front of public. The Hok Tek Bio temple was also affected by this policy as their tradition was curbed.
This policy was ended in 1998 when the New Order Regime fell and replaced by the new one. The President of Indonesia , Mr Abdurrahman Wahid announced the repeal of the policy in 1999.
Now with the new Lunar Year is already in front of the door, Chinese people around the world prepare themselves to welcome the coming of Wood Goat Year. The Chinese people in Bogor will do too.
This means, we can expect some attraction of Chinese traditions to come. In this rain city, the celebration will usually be centered in Hok Tek Bio Temple. It can be expected there will be Barongsay Parade.You can expect the Dragons and Lions “fighting” attractions here.
The traditions is very exciting and attractive. The attendances, for sure, won’t be only Chinese People. All ethnics will be here to enjoy the Dragon dance here.
So if you have a plan to visit Indonesia or Jakarta before February 19th, please spare a bit of your time to visit Bogor. You could enjoy the Barongsay Parade with me.