Penang is without question famous for its historical buildings and beautiful temples. In Penang, you will dsicover many beautifully designed temples scattered throughout its capital city of Georgetown. Han Jiang Ancestral Temple in Chulia Street is amongst one the countless beautiful temples in Penang that you could visit here.
The magnificent Han Jiang Ancestral Temple Penang was built-in 1870 when a sizeable quantity of Teochew Chinese from the Chaozao province of China began to be in in Penang. Originally this Penang temple was called the Teochew Kongsi, functioning as a clan association building, before it was renamed to Han Jiang Ancestral Temple in 1935. Han Jiang Ancestral Temple is considered to be 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 probably be correct in mistakenly assuming that Penang temple appears like some other Chinese temple in this island state. However, once you step into this magnificent Penang temple you will feel as if you’ve been transported back time especially once you look at 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 the Penang temple. One thing you will be interested to understand about this Penang temple is so it has the biggest entrance door in Penang when compared to the other clan temple buildings in this island state. It can also be among the few temples which can be allowed to possess three doors instead of just one or two doors hoanh phi cau doi son dong. The reason being the shrine of Shang Di Gong, the best of the Chinese deity, is inside the temple.
Another interesting feature you will notice about 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 lack of windows is believed to avoid money from leaking out from the temple.
In the event that you take a look at this Penang temple massive main door panels, you will dsicover that the panels are intricately decorated with the motifs of the imposing Door Guardians, Qn Shu Bao and Yuchi Gong, with their unique gold-coloured helmets. When you take pictures beside the doorway and compare your own personal height with it you will understand why the entrance door is recognized as the biggest one in Penang.
In the event that you turn your gaze upwards, you can see the normal Teochew architecture reflected in the rectangular spiral cross beams constructed above the key cross beam. Have a wander to the outer hall with this Penang temple and you will dsicover the beautiful altar specialized in 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 written plaque with gold letterings.
The next hall with this Penang Temple houses the shrine of Shang Di Gong. You’ll observe that the big courtyard of the second hall is tiled with granite slabs and has several plants such as for example pomegranates, lotus and bamboos growing here. As you look at the gateway, you can see the statues of three carps. Meanwhile the rooftop is decorated with two beautiful statues of green dragons. It’s believed that when the carps jumped the gate they will be transformed into dragons.
You will 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 can obviously have a sense that Han Jiang Ancestral Temple emphasises on honouring the legacy of the previous generations who made their home in Penang.