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Vihara Toa Se Bio, Jakarta Overview

Vihara Toa Se Bio is an old Chinese monastery in Jakarta. The name of the temple is a combination of two words namely "Taose" meaning "message" and "Bio" meaning "temple." The tourists visit this temple to worship Qing Yuan Zhen Jun. The temple is remarkably known for its heavy and distinct scents emanating from the incense.

The Vihara Toa Se Bio temple is one of the oldest temples in Jakarta, not far from the famous Jin De Yuan temple and Jakarta Kota station. Constructed as early as in the year 1715 by the Chinese Zhangzhou community and traders who traded in Glodok market, this temple has ever since stood up as 'messenger temple' and a place of worship mainly visited by Buddhists. The main god worshipped here is Cheng Goan Cheng Kun, the guardian deity of the city surrounded by water.

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History and Significance

In 1740, this temple was burned during riots and almost all the buildings and furnishings for worship were burned. The only things that survived the fires is a statue of Goan Cen Chen Kun and Hiolo which is the place to plug in incense sticks in front of the altar statue of the god. It was rebuilt in the year 1752 and the temple complex now has around 20 altars divided into one main room with two other rooms on the right and left side of the entrance respectively.

There is a building in this temple which contains a beautiful pagoda building housing a prayer oil lamp. However, the best time to visit Toa Se Bio temple is definitely the Chinese New Year, when visitors gather at 12 o'clock at the temple complex and pray together at night for a prosperous year. Fireworks and lanterns, the red-themed decoration of the temple, lion dance and the spiritual energy makes it absolutely fascinating.

There is also a routine tradition held in the pagoda Toa Se Bio when the statues of deities are bathed. The street next to the temple is a great place to enjoy some delicious and traditional street food after the prayers and celebration.

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