Guan Yin Ting Dou Mu Gong Temple
A marvellous blend of aesthetics and mythology from ancient China
Flaunting vibrant and scintillating traditional architecture, this new major religious landmark constructed in 2015 is also remarkable in that it features two main divine maternal deities – the Guan Yin Ting (Goddess Kuan Yin) and the Dou Mu Gong (Goddess Tou Mu Kung).
The iconic new temple has been built adjacent to an older and smaller temple for Kuan Yin that was established more than fifty years ago, and next to which another old shrine, dedicated to the Nine Emperor Gods, stands.
The old Kuan Yin temple is one of the oldest places of worship in the Jalan Raja Uda area. It has a cosy and charming atmosphere, with its small prayer hall charged with the sweet scent of incense and surrounded by humble yet enchanting wall motifs and paintings.
The new temple is notable in that brings together Kuan Yin and the Tou Mu Kung, who is the divine mother of the Nine Emperor Gods. It is also much larger, and on an epic proportion. Its 24 pillars are extravagantly embellished with specially carved and dazzling dragon designs.
Fifteen craftsmen from Fuchien province in China were engaged to work on the project, lending a meticulous touch of authenticity in terms of the Taoist religious aesthetics and scriptural meanings that were applied to every detail.
The temple also bears an airy and serene built environment. It boasts a splendid spacious porch, a main prayer hall, two other halls, a central court and a three-tier pagoda. The impressive 24 metre high pagoda is the main feature of the temple.
With its intricate physical beauty and profound mythological allusions, the Guan Yin Ting Dou Mu Gong Temple is set to be one of Penang’s most important pilgrimage destinations for Taoist followers and among the most attractive monuments of architecture for the discerning tourist.
Written by Himanshu Bhatt
Photographs by Adrian Cheah