TEMPLE & BANDUNG CHINESE COMMUNITY
It is estimated that Chinese people entered Bandung in the early 19th Century. This can be traced from the colonial policy known as Wijkenstelsel, which regulated the placement of people from East Asia in a particular settlement with certain borders. This policy was then followed by another policy called Passenstelsel, which obliged Chinese people to have a license if they want to get out of the border. The policy intended to limit the number of Chinese people in West Java so that they would not be able to get involved in the business monopoly the colonial government was running .
However, the policy did not work very effectively in a long term . When Governor General Herman W.Daendels issued Besluit van den Zommermand in 1810, Chinese people were placed in some areas in West Java, such as Cianjur, Bandung, and Sumedang in order to stimulate the growth of farming . But it turned out Chinese people preferred to reside in Batavia and Cirebon than in remote areas. Rumor has it, Daendels had to move them from Cirebon to Priangan area by fore . The majority of Chinese people work as merchant, labor, carpenter, or railway worker. Not surprisingly, most of them resided around market and Bandung train station, which in turn gave birth to Bandung’s Chinatown .
Like the ancestors, they also practiced various traditions and embraced Confucianism. Cultural and religious practices of the Chinese, such as Chinese New Year, ceng beng and the like are centered in religious buildings. Therefore, Chinese people in Bandung built temples (bio) in a number of locations . According to records, Xie Tian GongTemple is the first temple in Bandung. It was established I 1885 under the name of Sheng di Miao. The temple was then rebuilt in 1917 and renamed as Xie Tian Gong. The term klenteng itself is a native Indonesian term for offerings for the goddess Kwan Im (Kwan Im Teng ) . It is believed that the word klenteng was derived from Kwan Im Teng . The architectural design of the temple is of course of traditional Chinese temple, mainly influenced by the values of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. Xie Tian Gong temple is also known by the name of Satya Budhi monastery, located at Jalan Kelenteng no.223A, not far from Bandung Train Station and Pasar Bandung. In the vicinity of this temple you can see a number of traditional Chinese community buildings. Some of the buildings are still well maintained and used for trade and as the place for people to live.
Not only you can find the charm of traditional Chinese architecture at the Chinatown area, but you can also enjoy a variety Chinese cuisine. There are many restaurants and cafes serving Chinese food in Bandung, ready to pamper your tongue with a distinctive taste of mainland China.