Penang is without question well-known for its historical buildings and beautiful temples. In Penang, you might find many beautifully designed temples scattered throughout its capital city of Georgetown. Han Jiang Ancestral Temple in Chulia Street is amongst one the numerous beautiful temples in Penang as you are able to visit here.
The magnificent Han Jiang Ancestral Temple Penang was built in 1870 whenever a sizeable quantity of Teochew Chinese from the Chaozao province of China began to stay in Penang. Originally this Penang temple was called the Teochew Kongsi, functioning as a clan association building, cau doi before it had been renamed to Han Jiang Ancestral Temple in 1935. Han Jiang Ancestral Temple is regarded as the best-maintained Teochew temple in all South-east Asia and has won the 2006 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for cultural heritage conservation.
When you look at Han Jiang Ancestral Temple from the road you would oftimes be correct in mistakenly assuming this Penang temple looks like any other Chinese temple in this island state. However, once you step into this magnificent Penang temple you’ll feel as if you have been transported back in time especially once you go through the temple’s well-preserved 19th century architectures.
This Penang temple was originally designed with a four-point gold quadrangle design. Once the Teochew community in Penang had finally prospered, an ornate Chinese-style outer gate building was added to this Penang temple. One thing that you will be interested to know relating to this Penang temple is so it has the biggest entrance door in Penang in comparison with another clan temple buildings in this island state. It can be among the few temples that are allowed to possess three doors rather than a couple of doors. The reason being the shrine of Shang Di Gong, the best of the Chinese deity, is in the temple.
Another interesting feature you’ll notice relating to this Penang temple is its not enough windows. This Penang temple four-point gold quadrangle design air-well is gourd-shaped which symbolises the holding of money. The absence of windows is believed to prevent money from leaking out of the temple.
If you have a look only at that Penang temple massive main door panels, you might find that the panels are intricately decorated with the motifs of the imposing Door Guardians, Qin Shu Bao and Yuchi Gong, using their unique gold-coloured helmets. When you take pictures beside the door and compare your own personal height with it you’ll understand why the entrance door is considered the biggest one in Penang.
If you turn your gaze upwards, you will see the typical Teochew architecture reflected in the rectangular spiral cross beams constructed above the main cross beam. Have a wander in to the outer hall of the Penang temple and you might find the beautiful altar dedicated to the Teochew patron deity who is recognized as the Taoist god of the north. Additionally there are plenty of stone ancestral tablets placed here. Above this altar is a published plaque with gold letterings.
The second hall of the Penang Temple houses the shrine of Shang Di Gong. You’ll observe that the big courtyard of the 2nd hall is tiled with granite slabs and has several plants such as for example pomegranates, lotus and bamboos growing here. As you go through the gateway, you will see the statues of three carps. Meanwhile the rooftop is decorated with two beautiful statues of green dragons. It’s believed that once the carps jumped the gate they’ll be transformed into dragons.
You can see three altars with incense urns in this Penang temple third hall. Additionally there are ancestral tablets containing the names of the Teochew community’s forefathers and community leaders. From the numerous ancestral tablets placed here you are able to obviously have an expression that Han Jiang Ancestral Temple emphasises on honouring the legacy of the last generations who made their home in Penang.