PICTURES

Annual Kusu pilgrimage season losing devotees

Caretaker Hussin Bin Hashim (left), 62, attends to a devotee at one of the three Kramats situated atop a hillrock on Kusu Island, on Oct 13, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Caretaker Hussin Bin Hashim (left), 62, attends to a devotee at one of the three Kramats situated atop a hillrock on Kusu Island, on Oct 13, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Ms Prasanna Reddy (foreground), reaches out to touch a sculpture of several turtles at Kusu Island's Da Bo Gong Temple on Oct 13, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Ms Prasanna Reddy (foreground), reaches out to touch a sculpture of several turtles at Kusu Island's Da Bo Gong Temple on Oct 13, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
A child looks at the mini tortoise enclosure at Kusu Island's Da Bo Gong Temple on Oct 13, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
A child looks at the mini tortoise enclosure at Kusu Island's Da Bo Gong Temple on Oct 13, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
A man places incense sticks at the alter after prayers at Kusu Island's Da Bo Gong Temple on Oct 13, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
A man places incense sticks at the alter after prayers at Kusu Island's Da Bo Gong Temple on Oct 13, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
A man prays to the Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) at Kusu Island's Da Bo Gong Temple on Oct 13, 2013. The annual Kusu pilgrimage season, which coincides with the ninth lunar month and is ongoing from Oct 5 to Nov 2, appears to be losing its lustre. -- S
A man prays to the Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) at Kusu Island's Da Bo Gong Temple on Oct 13, 2013. The annual Kusu pilgrimage season, which coincides with the ninth lunar month and is ongoing from Oct 5 to Nov 2, appears to be losing its lustre. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEON

The annual Kusu pilgrimage season, which coincides with the ninth lunar month and is ongoing from Oct 5 to Nov 2, appears to be losing its lustre.

Last year, some 47,000 devotees made the 15-minute ferry trip to Kusu Island, according to the Sentosa Leisure Group, which manages the island located 5.6km away from Singapore.

This year, about 14,000 people have made the pilgrimage so far, said Mr Ryden Fang, general manager of Singapore Island Cruise & Ferry Services, which exclusively runs scheduled ferry trips to Kusu.

He added there has been a drop in visitorship of about 5,000 people each year since 2007.

On the pilgrimage, devotees usually visit the Da Bo Gong Temple, built in 1923 and which houses deities Tua Pek Kong (God of Prosperity) and Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy).

They then make a 152-step climb to a Malay shrine atop a hillock, where three Kramats, or holy shrines of Malay saints, reside.

At both sites, devotees pray for blessings ranging from marriage and fertility to health, prosperity, and peace of mind.