Penang is without question 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 numerous beautiful temples in Penang as you are able to 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 stay 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 known to be the best-maintained Teochew temple in every one 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 would probably be correct in mistakenly assuming that this Penang temple seems like any Chinese temple in this island state. However, whenever you step into this magnificent Penang temple you will feel like you’ve been transported back time especially whenever you consider the temple’s well-preserved 19th century architectures.
This Penang temple was originally designed 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 mau hoanh phi cau doi. Something that you will be interested to learn concerning this Penang temple is so it has the largest entrance door in Penang when compared to the other clan temple buildings in this island state. It is also among the few temples which are allowed to possess three doors rather than just one or two doors. The reason being the shrine of Shang Di Gong, the best of the Chinese deity, is within the temple.
Another interesting feature you will notice concerning 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 absence of windows is believed to prevent money from leaking right out of the temple.
If you take a look only at that 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 personal height with it you will understand just why the entrance door is considered the largest one in Penang.
If you turn your gaze upwards, you can see the typical Teochew architecture reflected in the rectangular spiral cross beams constructed above the key cross beam. Take a wander to the outer hall of this Penang temple and you will see the beautiful altar focused on the Teochew patron deity who is called the Taoist god of the north. There’s also a lot of stone ancestral tablets placed here. Above this altar is a written plaque with gold letterings.
The second hall of this Penang Temple houses the shrine of Shang Di Gong. You’ll realize that the big courtyard of the second hall is tiled with granite slabs and has several plants such as for instance pomegranates, lotus and bamboos growing here. As you consider the gateway, you can see the statues of three carps. Meanwhile the rooftop is decorated with two beautiful statues of green dragons. It is believed that when 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’s 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 an expression that Han Jiang Ancestral Temple emphasises on honouring the legacy of the previous generations who made their house in Penang.