While we are (impatiently) awaiting the start of the 2010 festivities, we can learn something about the geography of the festival at the Nine Emperor Gods Temple in Ampang. Here is the Google Earth image of the temple grounds. It is a good thing that they didn’t take the satellite image when the festival was happening. A cloud of smoke would have obscured everything!
The inner circle is comprised of the religious elements of the festival. This includes the altars of course, as well as the dormitories and kitchen facilities for hosting the devotees who come to pray three times daily. The Altars show up nicely on this satellite image, well at least the roof lines give an indication of where they are. Although geographically separate from the temple building, the opera stage would be included in the “inner circle”. Here are a few photos of the inner circle elements taken last year.
(As I am partial to the space, I’ll cover the “Pole of Invitation” in a separate blog. I’ll also post some information about what goes on at the Opera Stage, with some links to photos from this stage that are all over the internet.)
The outer circle is the economically driven part of the festival. This is the area just outside the temple buildings where the fair takes place. It’s a really fun and colourful cacophony of stalls where one can buy both lollipops in the shape of Taoist deities and all of the bits and pieces needed for praying, have your fortune told or set a date for a wedding, receive acupuncture treatments or get a tatoo, and buy artwork that you can watch being made. It’s the Malaysian version of the State Fair where the line ups for Stinky Taiwanese Tofu here rival those for deep-fried corn dogs in Iowa. Here’s a sampling of photos from the fairgrounds. The same vendors return year after year, so visitors come looking for their favorites!