Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Temples and mosques of Penang

Hello and welcome.

This is the penultimate blog from our trip to Penang.

In Georgetown, and outside, on the island of Penang, there are many temples and mosques to see. It was one of the great pleasures of our trip. Here is a selection of photos that give you a taste of the richness and variety of these places of worship.

This is Cheah Si Sek Tek Tong clan house and ancestral temple. The Cheah association was the first of the five great Hokkien clans. It was founded sometime before 1820. The others are the Khoo, Yeoh, Lim and Tan associations. The Cheahs originated from Sek Tong village in South China. These benevolent overseas Chinese associations are called "Kongsi" and they exist to look after the welfare of their particular clan.

This first picture shows the gateway located at No' 8 Armenian Street. I hope you enjoy the rest.


Simple but striking

I'm not sure the choice of red table is wise....

Inside the main hall of the temple

Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple which was
constructed in 1845. Apparently it was
the headquarters of a Chinese secret society

Altar to the Tua Pek Kong, the Taoist god of
The colour gold represents

You will see a lot of gold in this blog!

Incredibly ornate columns

Choo Chay Keong Temple of Yap Kongsi (Clan House).
Among the most famous Yap clansman in Penang
is Yeap (Yap) Chor Ee. He arrived in Penang in
the late 1800s and started a barber shop. Then, he
ventured into trading the local products like sugar,
rubber, tapioca and all kinds of farm production.
Eventually, he diversified into banking and built
the Ban Hin Lee Empire. The piece of land where
Yap Kongsi or Yap Clan house stands today at
the junction of Cannon Street and Armenian Street
in the heart of George Town was also donated
by this well-known philanthropist.
Situated in the core zone listed in UNESCO's
World Heritage Site, it was built in 1924

I found the interior of this temple to be one
of the most beautiful

The altar is compelling and I took lots of photos

Leon San Tonk Khoo Kongsi is the most
illustrious and majestic of the clan temples
in Georgetown and perhaps in South East Asia.
The "saddle" roof is said to weigh 25 tonnes.
You can see why!

This is the altar with ancestral tablets.
The Khoos were among the wealthy Straits Chinese
traders of 17th century Malacca and early Penang

Another prosperous altar!
The clan temple was built in 1906 when the
Khoo clan was at the height of its wealth and
eminence in Penang society

The lanterns are particularly beautiful

The beautiful Kapitan Keling Mosque was built
in the 19th century by Indian Muslim traders

It is situated in the Little India
area of Georgetown

There are several very tiny
mosques situated around
the city with very interesting

Sri Mariamman Temple, built in 1833. It is the
oldest Hindu temple in Penang

Now we are moving out of the city. There are
two temples on the way that are right opposite
each other. This one is Wat Chayamangkalaram,
which houses the third largest reclining Buddha
in the world. It is 33 metres long

The other is a Burmese temple
called Dhammikarama Burmese
Buddhist Temple. It was
consecrated in 1805. This
standing Buddha has something
special. I was drawn to the face and hands

Daniela, slightly dwarfed, pointing to Singapore.
These Mystical beasts are Panca Rupa, or
'Guardian Protectors of the World'. They
are said to be the masters of water, land and
air, with appendages of various animals
– the head of a lion, a trunk like an
elephant, the body of a fish, the wings of
the mystical Garuda, the ears and hooves
of a horse and horns of a deer

Now in the country we are at Kek Lok Si Temple.
It is the largest Buddhist temple in South East
Asia, situated in Air Itam in Penang. It is a
magnificent temple complex built on the hills.

This is a statue of Guan Yin, short for Guanshiyin
觀世音, which means "Observer of the Sounds
(Cries) of the World." She is commonly referred to
as the Goddess of Mercy. The statue is bronze
and 30.2 metres high

Inside one of the many prayer halls.

The rambling temple consists of prayer halls,
pagodas, bell towers and just about every
other typical temple structure you can think
of, in varying styles, from Burmese to Chinese
to Thai

Here you can see part of the temple with the
backdrop of the surrounding hills

Sumptuous, prosperous and glorious!

This is Aksobhya Buddha, one of the Five
Dhyani Buddhas
, icons of Mahayana Buddhism.
He is known as the "Immovable Buddha"
because he was a monk who vowed never to
feel anger or disgust at another being

More of the temple complex

A place to relax and contemplate

A long line of Buddhas

The famous pagoda of Kek
Lok Si Temple

A humble hut, flying the Malaysian flag, hidden
away under the temple

Back in town, this is a night shot of yet another
temple building. Are you templed out yet?

Come back for one last blog of Georgetown which
will show you some of the colonial buildings and
the famous Georgetown quays. See you then.

1 comment:

Jo said...

I love the simple picture of the window and the cravings in bamboo :)
Making European associations the temple with this very roof brings to mind rococo. I was wondering if you know if the architecture has developed different styles over the centuries and how they are called (in Europe it's for example roman, gothic, baroque)? From what little I know in China we speak about art that was made during regime of certain dynasty, what about South-East Asia?