Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine
Chao Por Khao Yau Shrine can be said to be a prestigious sacred place of Si Chang Island. Tourists and many people traveling in, working on or visiting Si Chang Island will have to come to worship the Chao Por Khao Yai (the Sacred Spirit of Khao Yai). There is a belief that if one worship the Chao Por for 3 consecutive years, one’s wish will come true.
There have been widespread stories about the sacredness of the Chao Por and the granted wishes. This makes a great number of Thai people and foreigners visit the shrine every year. However, boat people who always travel around the area know well how worshiping Chao Por Khao Yai can bring auspiciousness to them because Chao Por has been a ‘Miraculous Sacred Thing’ for Chinese people who live overseas from generation to generation. From an ancient Chinese inscription by Mr. Ouiseng Ng (in Chaozhou dialect) aka Yunxeng Huang (in Mandarin), who is from Bung Xiang District, Hainan Province, Hainan Island, China, which is a teakwood inscription from around A.D. 1883, which is now kept at Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine and has been translated by a scholar, while a boat was anchoring at the front of Si Chang Island, boat people saw light on a mountain, so they climbed the mountain to see it and saw a stalactite in the shape of a human head like what the ancient Chinese doctrine has stated that it is the image of a sacred spirit that has occurred naturally. The stone is in a cave in the sea, facing the water in the east. This is what ancient Chinese people believed to be a ‘Miraculous Sacred Thing’.
Details of the Place
Located on a high mountain, which is nowadays called ‘Khama Sita Mountain’, in the north of Si Chang Island, Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine is a construction that is a combination of Chinese and Thai architectures. The shrine is painted in red colour which makes it is precisely visible from the pier. The stairway to go up is divided into two sides. The one on the right side leads to Guan Yin Goddess (Goddess of Mercy) Shrine and the one of the left leads to Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine. Apart from the stairway, visitors can go up to see Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine by cable car, which can support 6 - 8 persons per round and is suitable for the elder. The fee for the cable car is in the rate at which each user is willing to donate. There is a donate box at the shrine.
Visitors who want to pay offerings for Chao Por Khao Yai can buy a set of offerings, which costs 70 baht, and consists of 25 joss sticks, gold leaves to be pasted on the Chao Por Stone, and a bottle of lamp oil. Meanwhile, a set of offerings for people who were born in inauspicious years costs 100 baht and incorporates a talisman fabric and a piece of pink paper for a person to write his/her date of birth on, which are to be left at the shrine in the annual praying rite.
Before ascending to Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine, after passing the arch, you will see the Tiger God Shrine on the left. Chinese people believe that worshiping Tiger Good will bring to them power over others. Walking a little farther, you will see the Elder Foundation of Si Chang Island with a great number of the elder asking you to donate money to the foundation and blessing you. Afterwards, you will see the arch that is the stairway to Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine with the Guan Yin Goddess Shrine on the right. Guan Yin Goddess is known for her mercy to people worshipping her. Near the Goddess Shrine, there is Naga Cave, which is not so big with the floor paved with ceramic tiles that make the cave look clean. At the inmost part of the cave, there is a statue of the blessing god in the standing positions. At the front of the arch of the stairway to Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine, there are 2 shining golden Chinese lion statues. Walking pass through the arch, you will see a red cable care. If you decide to work, just step farther on the cement floor that is paved with yellow and grey stones. The stairway and the cable car route are separated from each other with a vividly red wall the top of which is decorated with a gigantic dragon statue with pale yellow scales and green hair flying on clouds. The big head of the dragon statue looks like it is greeting visitors who come to worship Chao Por Khao Wai. A dragon is a mythical creature that symbolizes power and grandeur. It is believed to be the king of all the animals that have scales. This dragon statue has been with Chao Por Khao Yai for long enough to become another highlight of this shrine. Along the way up, there are metal banisters in the middle of the stairway. The first stop is a small way up on the left leading to the statue of Katyayana and Pu Rishi (Cave of Sage) with a small alley.
Walking a little upper, you will see the Shrine of Eight Zians (Immortal Demi-Gods) which is also very sacred because the stones used for molding the statues of the eight Zians are mainly from Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine. Thus, the statues of Zians are believed to bless believers with prosperity from trading, investment and works. They are very respectable for the Chinese. After worshipping the eight Zians and walking a little farther, you will see two statues of Chinese lions at the front of a small way up to a footprint of Lord Buddha. Thus, this route is for people with great faiths because it links Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine with Lord Buddha’s Footprint. It is a pilgrimage route with which visitors leave their footprints to see a great footprint in Buddhism. The route is shady with the plumeria trees on both sides. There are also sacred things on both sides for visitors to worship. It is advisable that you see Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine first before this area. Going a little higher, you will see the eaves of Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine above your head. Take your shoes off and keep them in the designated areas before walking up a few steps of a marble stairway to go to Guan Yin Goddess (Goddess of Mercy) Shrine, Statue of Chai Seng Ea who is the God of Prosperity and Statue of Katyayana who grants lucks, intellectual and popularity. You worship these statues first before seeing Chao Por Khao Yai. Walking a little more, you will see the stand for selling candles and joss sticks right in front of you.
Worship to Chao Por Khao Yai
- Light 25 joss sticks. Sit on your knees at the front of Chao Por. State out loud or with yourself your name and family name. Pray to Chao Por Khao Yai for protection and make wishes. You can just ask for what you want or promise to come back with special offerings if your wish is granted.
- To offer the joss sticks, you start with one on the left and another on the right of the entrance to the shrine or ‘Muenster Xueng’.
- Afterwards, put three joss sticks in the joss stick pot at the front of Thap Thim Goddess Statue, put three other joss sticks in the pot of Chao Por Khao Yai, and three others at the front of Chao Por Phu Pha (Spirit of the Mountain).
- Then, go up to the Shrine of Heng Chai (the Monkey King) and put 5 joss sticks in the pot at the front of the cave of the Monkey King in order to worship the heaven and the earth. Then, put three joss sticks at the front o the Monkey King Statue, three others a the pot of the Grand Goddess and the other three at the pot of Pu Rishi (the Sage) (walking rightward).
- After the Monkey King Cave, paste the gold leaves on Chao Por Khao Yai and fill the lamp oil in Chao Por Khao Yai Cave in order to finish the rite.
- Each of the aforementioned gods and goddesses, including Chao Por Khao Yai, are believed to provide different benefits, as follows.
- Mueang Xueng is the god who guards sacred areas. The worship to this god is to ask for permission to enter the shrine to worship Chao Por Khao Yai.
- Thap Thim Goddess is the goddess of the sea who grants wishes that are related to overseas travel long and trading.
- Chao Por Phu Pha is the god of mountain who blesses worshippers with security, strength and business success.
- Worship to Heaven and Earth is to ask the heaven and earth for protection, strength, prosperity and happiness.
- Heng Chai God (Monkey King) grants success over obstacles and money flow. This statue is worshipped by a great number of state officials and business people.
- Pu Rishi (the Sage) grants health-related wishes, making worshippers free from diseases. Wishes granted, people will offer wands as they have promised while making wishes. When wands are accumulated in a great number, they will be donated to the poor.
Luck Changing with Tai Xia Huk Chow (the Monkey King)
Many people believe that some years are bad years for them; thus, they have to turn bad years into good ones in accordance with the belief if the twelve years in a lunar round, which depends on an individual’s belief and determination. Some people might be successful and have good things whilst some others encounter no good incidents which make them feel gloomy and sad because of consistent failure or disappointments. Many people who come to worship Chao Por Khao Yai prefer to change their lucks by writing their names and names of members of their families on red paper in order to let themselves under the care and protection by Tai Xia Huk Chow (the Monkey King).
To write names on red paper to be pasted in the cave originates from the faith of a Malaysian tourist who visited Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine because he had dreamed that Tai Xia Huk Chow (the Monkey King) said to him that if he wanted his business to be successful, he had to visit Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine on Si Chang Island and write his name and family name on a piece of red paper and paste the paper on the wall at the front of the statue of Tai Xia Huk Chow (the Monkey King). After this Malaysian tourist asked the in-charge official to paste the paper and wen back to Malaysia, his business succeeded and his life became better. Thus, he came to worship Tai Xia Huk Chow (the Monkey King) again in the year after and his story has been widespread since then. Nowadays, you can see a lot of red paper pasted all over the walls of the cave in which the statue of Tai Xia Huk Chow (the Monkey King) is.
Correction of Bad Years and Bad Lucks with the Monkey King
Write your name, family name and date/month/year of birth on a piece of pink paper, pray with yourself, “May the auspicious power of the divine Monkey King protect me from obstacles and inauspicious things, and bless me with happiness, prosperity and blessings in four aspects, namely, Longevity in life, brightness, happiness and strength, forever.” Afterwards, pad yourself from head to toe with the pink paper 13 times. Then, you will receive a yellow talisman fabric with the image of the Monkey King, in red colour, to be kept with yourself to protect you.
Seeing the Sun Dawn
Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine is a spot for tourists or photographers who want to see the sunrise in the morning to visit because it is a spot that allows visitors to see the view around Si Chang Island. The scene of the sunrise with the lighthouse and sea on Si Chang Bay that leads to the horizon shows visitors the beautiful golden sun when the sky is clear. In addition, around the big joss stick pot at the exit from the cave of the Chao Por is an auspicious spot in accordance with Feng Sui approach. There is a great deal of positive power. Thus, visitors who stand or stay at that spot will be blessed.
Wallet blessing or ‘Tham Heng’ activity is to rub one’s wallet on the Chao Por, which is done b the in-charge officials of the shrine. You just pray and ask Chao Por to bless you with success and endless money. As for the fee, you can just donate as much money as you wish to the officials.
Fire Crackers Lighting
People light fire crackers for Chao Por Khao Yai with the belief that they will become popular as the sound of the fire crackers that is heard in distance, which means success in works and career. People always light 100, 500 or 1,000 rounds of fire crackers depending on the promises they have given to Chao Por Khao Yai.
To provide offerings depends on your promise to Chao Por Khao Yai. In general, people promise to Chao Por that if their wishes are granted, they will offer 5 kinds of fruits such as oranges, Chinese pears, dragon fruits, apples and pineapples, and meats such as pork, duck and chicken, and firecrackers. In addition, the most popular offering is boiled egg. The officials of the shrine have stated that most people promising to offer boiled edges will be granted their wishes.
Offering Selling Spot
- A worshiping set incorporates joss sticks, candles and gold leaves, all of which, altogether, cost 20 baht. A bottle of lamp oil costs 50 baht.
- An offering set incorporates a 250 baht garland and a set of 250 baht fabrics in three colors.
- As for fire crackers, a set of 500 rounds costs 150 baht, a set of 1,000 rounds costs 300 baht, a set of 2,000 rounds costs 500 baht, a set of 5,000 rounds costs 1,000 baht, and a set of 10,000 rounds costs 1,500 baht.
- A correction set costs 100 baht.
- The festival to receive oranges and attach the talisman paper upon Chao Por Khao Yai held around 2 weeks before Chinese New Year or anytime as determined by the shaman
- The tradition to worship sacred deities on Chinese New Year
- The tradition to celebrate Chao Por Khao Yao or the Day to Meet Chao Por Khao Yai, on 29th February after the Chinese New Year, which has been a significant tradition up to the present time
The shrine is around 1.5 kilometers away from Thewawong Pier
- A cable care,
- Worshipping sets,
- Restaurants, and
The ceiling of the entrance and alley of the cave of Chao Por Khao Yai is not so high. Thus, please be careful with your heads. In addition, to bow your heads or bend your backs a little while walking inside the cave seems to be a good gesture because it is like to pay respect to Chao Por Khao Yai.