Nine Emperor Gods Temple in Penang

Seberang Perai Attractions

The Nine Emperor Gods Temple is one of the largest temples in Butterworth. Dedicated to the Nine Emperor Gods of Taoist mores, it has gone through several makeovers over the years. It started out as a small attap shed on a rented plot of land in 1971 and was completed in 2000, at a cost of RM7 million.

The Nine Emperor Gods, believed to dwell in the stars, are the sons of Father Emperor Zhou Yu Dou Fu Yuan Jun and Mother of the Big Dipper Dou Mu Yuan Jun (Queen of Heaven). Their popularity has declined since being exported out of the southern provinces of China but in Penang there is a small group who still pay homage to these deities.

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Nine Emperor Gods Festival

Also known as Rumah Berhala Tow Boo Kong, the elaborate temple is never busier than during the annual Nine Emperor Gods Festival. Taking place on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, this is when the spirits of the Nine Emperor Gods descend from the stars to earth and possess mediums, putting them in a trance.

The nine-day celebration (somewhat similar to Thaipusam) sees devotees dressed in traditional white, carrying incense and candles, awaiting the ‘arrival’ of the nine Gods. Some worshippers in a religious fervour practice flagellation and self-mutilation, displaying their dedication by fire walking, skewing their cheeks with sharp objects (including nine-metre spears). The celebration reaches its climax on the ninth day with a procession to send the deities back home, from the Nine Emperor Gods Temple to the beachfront.

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An ornate structure north of the Jalan Raja Uda and the Butterworth-Kulim Expressway, Nine Emperor Gods Temple has curving pagodas and a dramatic roof with golden dragon statues.

Since many devotees are vegetarians for the duration of the festival, within the temple, stalls will set up to sell vegetarian food.

Sitting on reclaimed land facing the sea, it is easily accessible via the Jelutong Expressway: from here you drive to the Harbour Trade Centre and then turn right. The Nine Emperor Gods Temple is at the end of the road on your left.

Nine Emperor Gods Temple

  • Opening Hours: Daily, including Sundays and Public Holidays: 7 am to 9 pm
  • Address: On Lot 894 & 896, Mukim 14, Jalan Raja Uda, 12300 Butterworth, Penang, Malaysia
  • Tel: +604-331 8717
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