Set on the charmingly picturesque Lebuh Chulia in the Chinatown section of George Town, the Han Jiang Teochew Temple is an ancient Teochew architectural masterpiece that definitely qualifies to be called one of the most interesting places to visit in Malaysia! A center for peace and tranquility in the bustle of George Town, the Han Jiang Temple is a one-of-its-kind temple and a must-visit for all tourists thinking of where to go in Penang or what to do in Penang!
Magnificent murals, intriguing sculptures, hidden symbols, ornate art and lovely architecture: these are the features that define this glorious temple! So whether you’re an art aficionado, a history buff, a religion devotee or an architecture student, you’re in the right place at this temple! No visit to Malaysia is complete without having the Han Jiang Teochew Temple on your list of things to do in Penang!
The History of the Han Jiang Teochew Temple in Penang
Built by the Teochew Association in 1867, the Han Jiang Teochew Temple is intrinsically Chinese in shape, form, belief and architecture. First created to serve as a community temple of the Penang Teochew Association, this temple was initially known as the Teochew Kongsi but later became the Han Jiang Keochew Ancestral Temple in the year 1935.
Built to pay homage to the Taoist God of the North, this temple boasts very ornate architecture and plenty of unique features that showcase the status of the Teochew patron deity. These features ensure that the Han Jiang Teochew Temple stands apart from the other ancient temples of Penang.
Unique Features of the Han Jiang Teochew Temple
Unlike other temples in Penang, the Han Jiang Teochew Temple in Penang is quite different architecturally and was initially created in the manner of four-point gold, which is a basic quadrangle with an inner atrium. This gave the temple its unique look and quaint feel that we still enjoy today!
There are many unique features of this temple, one of which is the doors! Most Chinese temples usually have only one door. However, in keeping with the high status of the Teochew’s patron deity, the Han Jiang Temple has three doors, all of which are quite lovely and on whom the door gods are painted quite magnificently. Take a minute to admire the exquisite paintings of the door gods in their gold helmets.
Another key unique feature of this temple is the two-headed dog! The Teochews are said to be very much into nature and animal symbolism, and the two-headed dog is a prime example of this. Apart from other animal sculptures, the two-headed dog is quite fascinating and a definite must-see if you’re headed to the Han Jiang Ancestral Temple of Penang!
The altar of the patron deity is another piece that makes this temple a popular place to visit! Once undergoing major deterioration, the temple has undergone a major restoration which has also led to the restoration of the beautiful ancestral tablets and beautiful folding doors. Many tourists come from near and afar to catch a glimpse of this gorgeous masterpiece of an altar!
An Oasis of Peace
With the calming music being played inside and the soft warmth and fragrance of joss-sticks, the Han Jiang Temple is an oasis of peace and tranquility. Once you step inside, you leave behind the sounds of everyday life and immerse yourself in a sensation of being at peace and at one with the world. Your body rejuvenates, your mind drifts! This is why many people put the Han Jiang Ancestral Temple in their list of places to visit in Malaysia.
When visiting the Han Jiang Teochew Temple, please ensure that you maintain silence, take off your shoes and maintain a distance from the priceless sculptures and altar designs. This temple is very old and has been carefully preserved so everyone can enjoy and benefit from it. Let’s ensure we keep it in the same way for future generations.