Local Heart, Global Soul

October 31, 2012

Welded Together by the Gods…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are visiting the Cheng Hoon Teng temple in Melaka, Malaysia.

Now we have come inside, and as with the outside we are met with a perfusion of decoration and colours.

The temple is dimly lit, calm and cool… people are coming and going offering prayers and leaving   foodstuffs  at the long  alter/counter in the center of the back wall, presided over by an doll-like figure  (possibly porcelain?) dressed in rich yellow gold.

Wikipedia tells me that the  large main prayer hall is dedicated to the goddess of mercy, Kuan Yin, so possibly this is the figure that represents her.

My research also tells me that:

“The Cheng Hoon Teng temple, literally “Temple of Green Cloud” is a Chinese temple practicing the Three Doctrinal Systems of Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism located at No. 25 Jalan Tokong, Malacca Town, Malaysia. 

The Cheng Hoon Teng is situated close to Jalan Tukang Emas, also known as “Harmony Street” because of its proximity to the Kampung Kling Mosque and Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple.  The richly decorated Cheng Hoon Teng temple covers an area of 4,600 m2. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Featuring a magnificent main gate along Jalan Tokong, the Cheng Hoon Teng temple consists of a complex of several prayer halls, with additional smaller prayer quarters were added later. One of these is dedicated to the Buddhist gods of wealth, longevity and propagation, while another houses ancestral tablets.

One of the most dramatic features of Cheng Hoon Teng temple is the seven-metre red flag-pole facing the left wing of the main prayer hall, which houses the remains of two of the three Kapitans who contributed to the construction of the temple.

Across the road is a traditional opera theatre, which forms a part of the Cheng Hoon Teng temple complex.

Built in 1645 by Kapitan Lee Wei King with building materials imported from China, Cheng Hoon Teng served as the main place of worship for the local Hoklo (Hokkien) community.

In 2003, Cheng Hoon Teng was awarded a UNESCO award for outstanding architectural restoration

I also find out some interesting facts on the Malacca Tourism Guide website:

It’s porch is supported by columns. On one side of the column in the entrance, you can see Chinese calligraphy in the form called cao-shu, or “grass script”. The calligraphy was done, surprisingly, by a Dutch diplomat and authority on Chinese history and culture, Robert van Gulik (1910-1967) in the early 20th century. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The main prayer hall was first constructed in 1704 by Chan Ki Lock. What we see today was rebuilt by Kapitan China Chua Su Cheong in 1801.
The central altar is dedicated to Kuan Yin, the bodhisattva avalokitesvara, or known locally as the goddess of mercy. To her left (in the worshippers’ direction) is Ma Choo @ Ma Choe Poh, which is the same deity you would find at the A Ma Temple in Macau, Thian Hock Keong in Singapore and Hainan Temple in Penang.

This is the patron deity of fishermen, sailors and sea travellers, and is commonly worshipped in communitys across southern China and Nanyang. Next to her is the goddess of birth. On the far end is Kuan Kong. The deity with the gold face is Pau Sen Ta Tek, the god of welding.

Unlike other Chinese temples, the Cheng Hoon Teng does not employ door gods. Instead the doors are guarded by the famous Taoist monks, The Eight Immortals.

At the outer gate are the Eight Immortals on the beasts that they ride on. At the entrance to the main hall, the Eight Immortals are not shown in human form, but rather symbolized as dragons with four claws.

Within their claws are the Eight Immortals’ instruments, namely the flute, knife, lotus and fan. These dragon representations are called Ar Enn Pak Sien, or Hidden Eight Immortals. On the walls of the prayer hall are murals of the Eighteen Lorhans. To preserve them from the fumes and smoke, they are now encased behind glass. Their depictions have almost disappeared under centuries of smoke.

Huh? There’s a God of Welding?  Wow, who knew? (well, probably welders do). Come on, you know you want to keep this crumb of useless information for casual dropping into conversation and thus stopping the family know-it-all stone cold in their tracks next time the need arises. I mean, how do you top that gem?



(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


  1. Did you include this stop on your visit to New Zealand? Boy, you guys had quite an adventure.

    Comment by lulu — October 31, 2012 @ 3:14 pm | Reply

    • Yes Lulu, we did all this on our return stopover (almost a week)… and yes, we love adventures!!!

      Comment by kiwidutch — October 31, 2012 @ 10:46 pm | Reply

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