Penang is without a doubt fabled for its historical buildings and beautiful temples. In Penang, you will see 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 whenever a sizeable amount 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 regarded as the best-maintained Teochew temple in most of 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’d oftimes be correct in mistakenly assuming that Penang temple appears like any Chinese temple in this island state. However, once you step into this magnificent Penang temple you will feel like you’ve been transported back 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 the Penang temple. Something you will be interested to understand about that Penang temple is so it has the largest entrance door in Penang when compared to another clan temple buildings in this island state cau doi. It can be one of many few temples that are allowed to own three doors rather than a couple of doors. The reason being the shrine of Shang Di Gong, the highest of the Chinese deity, is within the temple.
Another interesting feature you will notice about that 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 stop money from leaking out from the temple.
If you have a look as of this Penang temple massive main door panels, you will see 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 doorway and compare your own height with it you will understand why the entrance door is known as the largest one in Penang.
If 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 in to the outer hall with this Penang temple and you will see the beautiful altar dedicated to the Teochew patron deity who is called the Taoist god of the north. Additionally there are lots of stone ancestral tablets placed here. Above this altar is a published plaque with gold letterings.
The next hall with this Penang Temple houses the shrine of Shang Di Gong. You’ll notice 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 go through 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 once 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 are able to obviously have an expression that Han Jiang Ancestral Temple emphasises on honouring the legacy of the prior generations who made their house in Penang.