Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

One highlight of my time in Melaka was at the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple. Built in 1645 (, it is Malaysia's oldest functioning Chinese temple. Dedicated to the goddess of Mercy (Kuan Yin), its name means "Temple of the Evergreen Cloud." With its colorful entry gate, the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is easy to spot on Jalan To'kong. Rebuilt in 1801, its artisans were brought from the southern Chinese provinces Fujian and Guandong. 
An active temple, Cheng Hoon Teng is equally devoted to the three doctrines of Chinese Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. 

The interior contained dark wood beams, elaborate woodcarvings, pretty lanterns, and extensive lacquer work. Columns made from timber are flat, rather than round. Feng Shui was employed in the entire structure. In one of its three bays (typically the temples only have one),  a solid bronze was displayed of Kuan Yin brought from India in the 19th century. The main shrine hall was constructed without any nails - quite the carpentry masterpiece.

Like other Chinese temples I would visit in Malaysia, it had ornate Chien Nien (literally meaning "cut and paste" porcelain mosaic-like works on the roof. Mythical creatures, animals, birds, and human figures were a feast for the eye. Such fun to photograph! 

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