Kuan Yin Temple
Built in 1728, the Kuan Yin Temple is the oldest temple in Penang. It is located along Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling which was previously known as Pitt Street. The Kuan Yin temple was constructed by immigrant settlers from China.
When it was constructed, it was one of the most splendid Chinese-style buildings in north Malaysia. Costing 4,000 Spanish dollars, which was a huge amount during that time, the Kuan Yin Temple was established in honour of the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin. The temple is also dedicated to Ma Chor Poh, the patron saint of seafarers, who was greatly regarded by the early Chinese immigrants.
This building is older than the Kongsi (Clan Houses) of Penang. In the past, it was used not only for religious purposes but also to cater to social events within the Chinese community. The structure of the building features classical Chinese design and architecture. It has beautiful carvings of dragons surrounding the stone pillars. The ceilings are high and there are marvellous ceramic sculptures of dragons lining the ridges of the roof.
On the temple grounds, there are two wells. One is situated in the yard and it was built for public usage. The other one is located on the inside and is for the usage of the monks.
This temple is often filled with visitors and devotees making their offerings and prayers. Outside of the temple, there are a number of stalls selling flowers and birds. Worshippers would buy the birds to be released, which is considered good deed.
Image by Shankar S.
Early morning to late evenings.
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With Kuan Yin standing tall in the heart of George Town, there will forever be endless compassion and devotion that can bring to the prosperity and racial harmony in Penang for many years to come.