Penang is without a doubt 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 numerous beautiful temples in Penang that you can visit here.
The magnificent Han Jiang Ancestral Temple Penang was integrated 1870 when 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 had been renamed to Han Jiang Ancestral Temple in 1935. Han Jiang Ancestral Temple is known to be the best-maintained Teochew temple in all of South-east Asia and has won the 2006 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for cultural heritage conservation.
Once you look at Han Jiang Ancestral Temple from the road you’d oftimes be correct in mistakenly assuming that this Penang temple appears like any other Chinese temple in this island state. However, whenever you step into this magnificent Penang temple you’ll feel like you have been transported in time especially whenever you consider the temple’s well-preserved 19th century architectures.
This Penang temple was originally built 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. A very important factor that you will be interested to learn about this Penang temple is that it has the largest entrance door in Penang when compared to one other clan temple buildings in this island state. It is also one of the few temples which can be allowed to own three doors instead of just 1 or 2 doors mau hoanh phi cau doi. 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 about this Penang temple is its insufficient 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.
If you take a peek only at that Penang temple massive main door panels, you will dsicover that the panels are intricately decorated with the motifs of the imposing Door Guardians, Qin Shu Bao and Yuchi Gong, with their unique gold-coloured helmets. Once you take pictures beside the doorway and compare your personal height with it you’ll understand just why the entrance door is recognized as the largest one in Penang.
If you turn your gaze upwards, you will see the conventional 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 dedicated to the Teochew patron deity who is recognized as the Taoist god of the north. There are also plenty of stone ancestral tablets placed here. Above this altar is a published plaque with gold letterings.
The 2nd hall with this Penang Temple houses the shrine of Shang Di Gong. You will realize that the big courtyard of the 2nd hall is tiled with granite slabs and has several plants such as pomegranates, lotus and bamboos growing here. As you consider 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 after 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. There are also ancestral tablets containing the names of the Teochew community’s forefathers and community leaders. From the numerous ancestral tablets placed here you can genuinely have a feeling that Han Jiang Ancestral Temple emphasises on honouring the legacy of the last generations who made their home in Penang.