Penang is undoubtedly famous 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 many beautiful temples in Penang that you can 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 settle in Penang. Originally this Penang temple was called the Teochew Kongsi, functioning as a clan association building, before it absolutely was renamed to Han Jiang Ancestral Temple in 1935. Han Jiang Ancestral Temple is regarded as the best-maintained Teochew temple in all of South-east Asia and has won the 2006 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for cultural heritage conservation.
Whenever you look at Han Jiang Ancestral Temple from the street you’d oftimes be correct in mistakenly assuming this Penang temple seems like every other Chinese temple in this island state. However, whenever you step into this magnificent Penang temple you will feel like you have been transported back time especially whenever you go through the temple’s well-preserved 19th century architectures.
This Penang temple was originally constructed with a four-point gold quadrangle design. When the Teochew community in Penang had finally prospered, an ornate Chinese-style outer gate building was added to the Penang temple. A very important factor that you will be interested to learn concerning this Penang temple is that it has the largest 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 are allowed to have three doors instead of just a couple of doors. The reason being the shrine of Shang Di Gong, cau doi the greatest of the Chinese deity, is inside the temple.
Another interesting feature you will notice concerning this Penang temple is its lack of 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 of the temple.
In the event that you take a look at 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, with their unique gold-coloured helmets. Whenever you take pictures beside the doorway and compare your own personal height with it you will realize why the entrance door is recognized as the largest one in Penang.
In the event that 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. Take a wander to the outer hall with this Penang temple and you will see the beautiful altar dedicated to the Teochew patron deity who is known as the Taoist god of the north. There’s also plenty 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 next hall is tiled with granite slabs and has several plants such as 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 is believed that once the carps jumped the gate they’ll be transformed into dragons.
You will see three altars with incense urns in this Penang temple third hall. There’s also 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 previous generations who made their home in Penang.