Kuan Yin Temple is Penang’s oldest temple. Built in 1728, it is set on Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling (previously known as Pitt Street) and was constructed by early immigrant settlers from China. Upon completion, the temple was one of the most magnificent Chinese-style structures in northern Malaysia.
Erected at the cost of 4,000 Spanish dollars, a princely sum at the time, it was built in honour of the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin. Older than the kongsis (clan houses) of Penang, it was originally used not only for religious but also for social functions within the Chinese community. Kuan Yin Temple was originally named Kong Hock Keong temple (Cantonese-Hokkien Temple).
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Kuan Yin Temple is also dedicated to Ma Chor Poh, the patron saint of seafarers, who was highly regarded by early Chinese settlers. Also known as Kuan Yin Teng, it features classic Chinese architecture with carvings of dragons around the stone pillars, high ceilings and ceramic sculptures of dragons lining the roof ridges. Red Chinese lanterns hang from the ceiling in the inner prayer chamber, below which sits a beautiful statue of an 18-arm Kuan Yin.
On the temple grounds are two wells: one is located in the courtyard and was designed for public use, while the one within is for monks. The temple recently underwent extensive renovations to give it a much-needed facelift.
Kuan Yin Temple
- Opening Hours: Early morning to late evening.
- Location: Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling
- Tel: +604 261 6663