Klenteng Caow Eng Bio
Once upon a time, on the shores of Kuta in Bali Island, a community of Hainan Chinese trading community thrived.
Overtime they accumulated enough social and cultural capital leading to the founding of a community temple dedicated to two Hainanese patron saints; Goddess Lady Shui Wei and the 108 Brothers.
Chinese temples are usually dedicated to a main deity who sits in the central shrine but unique to this temple, the main shrine is shared by Goddess Shui Wei and the 108 Brothers.
To the right is a shrine for Mazu, the sea goddess. The left shrine holds male gods such as Guan Gong, Nezha and Monkey God.
Outside the temple is their collection of lion heads use for lion dance. They are kept in a glass enclosure that serves as a shrine and a joss holder is place in front for joss stick offerings.
On both sides of the main building are two smaller halls. One enshrines Buddhist sculptures while the other to the right is a shrine to the Stove God.
Opposite the temple is a shrine to a dragon in a boat and next to it is a theatre.
Age of Caow Eng Bio
The temple is said to be as old as 300 years but this cannot be verified. However, a stele to the left of the temple dates back to 1882, 8th year Qing Emperor Guan Xu’s reign. Although broken, it has been piece together and put on display.
A Chinese artefact this old is quite remarkable in Indonesia. It was said that this stele was once hidden because of the Chinese characters on it. This cannot be verified although it would have some historical context since during Suharto’s New Order from 1965 to 1988, public display of Chinese characters were prohibited.
Most of the artefacts in the temple including various inscription boards, framed documents, a bell and ritual items used in the temple dates back to the reign of Qing Emperor Guang Xu. A few were made in the Chinese Republican period.
Around the temple, you can see local Bali Chanang offerings, a sign of cultural fusion with Bali culture and another evidence of its long history.
A historical witness
Today the temple is neighbours to luxury hotels and sea sports facilities along the beach front.
Its presence gives visitors a vantage point to see the changes that have taken place since it was first built. It is a treasure trove awaiting researchers.
Klenteng Caow Eng Bio
Jl. Segara Ening, Tanjung Benoa, Badung near airport and kuta