Kuan Yin Temple
One of the oldest Chinese temples in Penang, the Kuan Yin Teng or
the Goddess of Mercy Temple was built in 1800 by early immigrant settlers
from China and land given by the East India Company and originally
named Kong Hock Keong or the Cantonese-Hokkien Temple, as it was jointly
established by both clans. But just as mercy knows no bounds, the
temple has come to be known by the name of its patron saint and its
devotees include Chinese from any clan and all walks of life. The
most popular Chinese temple in Penang, it is congested on the full
moon days of the1st and 15th day of the Chinese lunar month, holy
days for the observance of precepts. On the three enlightenment days
of Kuan Yin, the 19th day of the 2nd, 6th and 9th Chinese lunar month,
the whole temple is brimming with devotees and visitors who turn up
for worship and also to join in the celebrations and watch the puppet
shows and Chinese operas staged on the temple's open grounds.
The cobbled square in front of the temple is a comforting sight
with the burning of kim and gin (gold and silver paper), feeding
of a lively flock of pigeons, burning of incense and joss paper
and also with the bustling about by the temple hawkers. It is also
here that the followers of Hare Krishnan distribute food free to
the homeless, beggars and the hungry regardless of race. At a corner
of the same square is a well, shaped in an octagon, which was once
a public well for the Chinese community.
It is interesting to know that although mercy and heavens know
no bounds, the devotees of the temple consider the temple to be
of important geomantic significance. When the Malayan Railway was
built in 1907 with a huge clock tower, the Chinese community saw
it as a conspiracy against them as the feng shui of the temple would
then undergo a change! But a more likely explanation would be that
the temple's pair of stone lions who loved to play out at the sea's
edge at night would then be without their enjoyment.
Opening Hours: Early morning to late evening.