Friday, January 19, 2007

Unusual sights at Charas Cave

KUANTAN: In conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2007, tourists may consider visiting the lesser-known Charas Cave.

Located about 4km from the main road leading to the former famous mining town of Sungai Lembing, therein also lies the Panching Thai Buddhist Temple.

Because of the absence of proper signages, first-time visitors may be in danger of losing their way as they have to pass through several private oil palm estates en route to the cave.

Along the way, they would also need to keep their eyes open for stray cows and their droppings littered all over the road.

For the uninitiated, Charas Cave lies at the foot of the imposing 1,000m-high Panching Hill.

The cave is said to be millions of years old and is formed of granite and limestone.

Its unique rock formations have made it a major attraction for amateur as well as professional archaeologists and geographers.

The cave is upright and is visible from the road leading towards Sungei Lembing town.

Upon reaching the entrance, visitors who are expecting a smooth path into the cave, would be in for another surprise.

Similar to Selangor's Batu Caves, visitors would be required to trek up a flight of about 100 stairs.

What made it challenging was its steepness and the occasional narrow and slippery path while descending into the cave’s opening.

But before one is allowed to climb up, a minimal fee of RM2 for adults and RM1 for children is applicable.

A full-time worker employed by the temple’s committee is overseeing the collection for its maintenance.

Tourists visiting in groups can make arrangements for a guided tour or take part in a flower bath ceremony.

The temple is managed by Thai Buddhist priest Phra Chuang Dhammathiro.

A local priest S. Maniam helps him with the daily operations.

Maniam, who has been the caretaker for 14 years now, said he had many visitors including foreigners during weekends and public holidays.

“I enjoyed the work to show visitors around the cave and explain to them its unique formations,” he said.

Notable sites were rock formations resembling the goddess Kwan Yin, an elephant, a combing princess, a royal tombstone, a fish and a nostril.

Maniam said all the formations were the work of nature.

The highlight of the visit is the image of the reclining Buddha at the far end of the cave.

“If you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the many white snakes slithering in the cave openings.

“We are installing more lightings and carrying out minor upgrading works,” said Maniam, adding that the temple is open to visitors from 8.30am to 6pm daily.

For those yearning for a majestic view of the town, they could climb another flight of steep stairs to enjoy a breathtaking sight.

On the way out, visitors were given a stern reminder against committing vandalism.

The fading wordings on a signboard reads: “It took nature 400 million years to create Panching Caves. It has become our heritage. Do not destroy it in a day.”

No comments:




Related Posts with Thumbnails