A Taoism Treasure...
Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple
Armenian Street, George Town.
A bastion of Taoism in Penang, the Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple was built by Chinese immigrants almost 165 years ago. Dedicated to Tua Pek Kong, the temple was symbolic of the values of the community and rituals conducted were very similar to what was practiced in the Fujian Province where most of them originated from.
Constructed in 1845, the temple ravaged by time, underwent a two-year renovation. Some 20 artisans from China completed it in 2006 at a cost of about RM1.5mil, and the temple now stands as among the oldest and most well preserved buildings in the heritage enclave.
Interestingly, the temple was also the headquarters of a Chinese secret society that would conduct various rites and ceremonies in front of the deity.
One of the many unique features of the architecture is the roof. This temple is the only one in Malaysia that has a `Kuan Kong' figurine perched regally on its roof. The deity is synonymous with Chinese secret societies because it represents loyalty.
Another unique feature is the temple’s bungalow-like layout – an architectural rarity as most prayer pavilions back then were on the groundfloor of smaller single storey buildings.
The tilting roof was constructed using the complicated “no nails” bracket system.
Besides it colourful ceramic and stucco figurines, paintings and sculptures, the temple also boasts of priceless treasures like an ancient hand-sewn cylindrical umbrella and secret society flags in its collection.