Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sites : Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Malacca, Malaysia

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Malacca City, Malacca, Malaysia - April 2014 (A UNESCO Heritage Site)

Built in 1645 AD, the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is reputed to be the oldest temple in Malaysia; well the oldest functioning temple anyway. In terms of beauty of architecture, it is to Malacca City what the Khoo Kongsi Clan House is to Penang Island. Both are remarkably beautiful in their detailed and fine workmanship, and both have been well restored and recognized as UNESCO Heritage Sites.

A panoramic view of the main temple building. The temple is also known as Kwan Yin Teng as the main deity revered is Kwan Yin. There is another similar Kwan Yin Teng (Goddess of Mercy Temple) in Penang too.
The red flag post at the left is of significance (not seen in photo), remains of two of the three Kapitan China who help found this place.

The memorial stone at the bottom of the left red flag post.

Plan of the Cheng Hoon Teng temple grounds.


The entrance gate has a beautiful roof, one that indicates more elaborate beauty will come inside. Two stone lions guard this entrance.
Two red flag-poles can be seen on each side. The left one is where remains of two of the three founding Kapitan China are housed.

A close-up of the main gate roof shows detailed craftsmanship has been put in on the caricatures of gods and warriors. Even the bright roof tiles have been laid in a nice symmetrical pattern with the blue end tiles terminating them nicely.

Close up view of one of the carved stone Lion Guards.

One of the two round portals with a gold-black dragon emblem. These two portals are at the two side walls of the entrance.

Carved stone tablets with colourful scenery lie below each round portal.

Embossed on each leave of the large entrance door is a golden dragon, with Chinese gods on mythical animals riding on the clouds.

To one side is another entrance, smaller but with a simplistic beauty.


The main temple building was elaborately designed along good feng shui lines. The centre prayer hall is dedicated to Kwan Yin.

View of the right prayer hall that is dedicated to the God of Justice (Kwan Ti) and another god Tye Tor Kong.

The central altar where prayers are made to Kwan Yin.

The left prayer hall for prayers to Ma Choe Po, the Goddess of The Sea.

At the right prayer hall altar, devotees can pray to a couple of gods - "Tye Tor Kong" and "Kwan Ti", the God of Justice.

Two red lions guard the entrance to the main prayer hall.

Side view of one of the Red Lion Guards.

Wall panel carving of "Dragons In The Sea" at the side of the entrance door.

Up above, the detailed soffit of the roof, with carved golden corbels.

A Chinese temple lantern with a stylized dragon design.

Carved timber wall partition beside the entrance door to the Main Prayer Hall.

Inside, devotees can be seen praying at the main altar to Kwan Yin.

Front view of the altar to Kwan Yin.

The Main Prayer Hall viewed from the side.

The elaborate ceiling of the Main Prayer Hall.

One of the timber lanterns at the Main Prayer Hall.

Carved timber dragon ceiling corbels.

Close up of one of the timber dragon corbels shows the fine craftsmanship that has been put into it.

At the top of the wall behind the altars are several panel paintings, which I show below. Some of these photos may not be clear as the hall was smoky and I had to zoom in. :
Kwan Yin observing monk procession.
(My captions here are my own interpretations and may not be accurate).

Animals paying respect to Kwan Yin.

Locals paying respect to Kwan Yin during a procession.
If you observed that the locals look Indian, it is because Kwan Yin is actually an Indian.

Redemption of a warrior.

Enlightened warrior taken to Nirvana.

Archery lesson.

Monks & saints paying respect to Kwan Yin.

Sage bearing gifts to sultan.

Presenting the new-born prince to the sultan.

An elephant procession.

Child Kwan Yin emerging from lotus bloom.

One of the many carve golden timber panel that are below the inlaid painting.


A peep through a round jade portal at the right annexe.
The temple has several annexes, to the right, left and rear. Each of these annexes have shrines dedicated to various Chinese gods. See the above plan of the temple grounds for details.

The left annexe houses a shrine for ancestors worship and a shrine to past monks. These shrines contains personal wooden prayer tablets for the deceased. Out of reverence I did not take any photos of these. This annexe also houses a small joss stick stall, i.e. the photo shown above.

The left annexe corridor, at left is an altar for ancestral worship. Ahead is the shrine for the the founders of the temple, which is part of the rear annexe.

A peep into the right annexe through an eyelet of a granite carving.

The shrine to the God of Wealth & Prosperity at the right annexe.

The right annexe can be accessed through a nice doorway from the front.

To one corner on the right, just before this entrance, is a joss paper burner.


On the other side of the road is the opera grounds; it is on land that belongs to the temple.

A closer view of the Opera House. The walls of the elevated platform has intricately carved colourful panels. The dressing rooms and the performing area is divided by a dark timber partition embossed with gold carvings.

On each of the gate-posts sits a this Chinese mystical creature. I wonder what it is?
UPDATE: A friend Mr. Kium had informed me that this is a Pixiu.


I always like the roofs of Chinese temples, they are gracefully curved and adorned with finely crafted ridges, ridge ends, etc. Although the Khoo Kongsi has a more intricate roof; the roof of the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple has that pleasant simplistic design of nicely balanced smooth curves.

The individual buildings of the temple has been positioned and sized according to feng shui principles. Somehow this have been amplified onto the roof design. Wherever one looks up, one cannot help but admire the roof's beauty.

The gable end of the roof of the outer prayer hall of the main temple.

Colourful fish ornament at the valley between two roofs.

Much work has been put into these roofs. Ornaments decorate the top ridge and hips. Even the end tiles have floral designs.

The Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is located at 25 Jalan Tokong, Malacca City, Malaysia.
Opening hours are from 7:00 am to 7:00pm.
GPS: 2.19759,102.246926

Related Blogs :

Submarine Museum @ Malacca
Klebang Beach, Malacca : April 2014
Visiting this educational submarine museum rekindled my old salt of the sea spirit.

You may also like :

Malaysia - Khoo Kongsi's Art & Architecture,
George Town, Penang : January 2013
Beautiful art & architecture at the Khoo Kongsi,
a grand & majestic clan-house.

Pai Ti Kong - Jade Emperor God Festival : February 2014
Throngs of people massed at the clan jetties for a vibrant festivity to
celebrate the birthday of the Jade Emperor God at George Town, Penang.

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps / Malaysia 2014 - Travel Sites / Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Malacca, Malaysia
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