The Teochew Ancestral Temple, or officially the Han Jiang Ancestral Temple, was built in 1870 but has its roots entrenched in the Penang Teochew Association, formed in 1855. Initially meant as a community hall for the Teochew migrants from China, it gradually grew into a temple for ancestral worship.

The temple may look like any other one found in culture-religion rich Penang, but little will visitors expect this quaint building to be a recipient of UNESCO’s APAC Heritage Award in 2006. The simplicity of the temple’s façade hides the elaborate designs inside the temple. The entry of the temple, typically decorated with murals of guardian deities, invites visitors into an open courtyard, which is a mainstay of many Chinese structures that carry an important role or that of the wealthy. Beyond the courtyard lies the main prayer hall, where a prayer table is laid before an altar of a Taoist deity known as Supreme Lord of the North Pole. Visitors will notice that the pillars and walls around the main hall are decorated with colourful murals and sculptures of phoenixes. Behind the main prayer hall is where rows of wooden tablets, each symbolizing a forefather of the Teochew clan. Similarly, a prayer table is laid before the tables for placement of offerings.

This temple serves as a good example of the lay-out of typical Chinese structures to visitors and showcases the intricate and elaborate Chinese murals, ornaments and sculptures.

How to get there:

Teochew Ancestral Temple is located along Chulia Street, close to the junction intersecting Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling and opposite Queen Street.

Opening hour and entrance fee:

Teochew Ancestral Temple opens daily from 9am to 6pm and entry is free.

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