Hean Boo Thean Temple (玄母殿) is a newly expanded Chinese temple at Lebuhraya Merdeka in Merdeka Park, off Weld Quay, in George Town, Penang. It is perched at water's edge within the reclamation area of Yeoh Jetty.
Main Shrine, Hean Boo Thean Temple (29 November, 2012)
The principal deity of Hean Boo Thean is the South Sea Bodhisattva Kuan Yin (南海观世音菩萨, Hokkien: Nam3 Hai4 Kuan3 Imm1 Hood3 Chor4), whose feast day falls on the 19th day of the 9th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. In addition there is a host of auxiliary deities venerated here.
South Sea Bodhisattva Kuan Yin, Main Shrine, Hean Boo Thean Temple (29 November, 2012)
The original Hean Boo Thean Temple dates back to 1972, when it was just a humble shrine on stilts, perched over the sea. Due to its amphibious situation, it was often inundated during high tides. In May 2011, Hean Boo Thean underwent a reconstruction and expansion project that was completed in November 2012, at a cost of RM1.5 million. This included renovation and extension, and brought the total floor area of the complex to 12,000 sq ft. The temple was officiated by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on 2 December 2012.
The new temple building is two storeys tall. It has a Lower Deck and an Upper Deck. At the centre of the Lower Deck is a lotus mural. The main featured on the lower deck is the Central Sanctuary, with prayer hall for a plethora of Chinese deities. The Central Sanctuary is finished with sculptured granite. The entrance has a plaque with the words "Hean Boo Thean" over the lintel, and couplets with gold inscriptions on the jambs.
Entrance to the Central Sanctuary of Hean Boo Thean (29 November, 2012)
The Central Sanctuary, Hean Boo Thean Temple (3 December, 2012)
Supporting the porch of the Central Sanctuary are four Dragon Pillars. In front of the porch is the Altar to the Jade Emperor. The dragons were crafted in bas-relief by artisans brought over from China.
Altar of the Jade Emperor, Hean Boo Thean Temple (29 November, 2012)
One of the Dragon Pillars, Hean Boo Thean Temple (29 November, 2012)
At the middle of the Lower Deck, aligned to the Central Sanctuary and altar, is a set of double arches. The outer arch is called the Dragon Gate Archway while the inner one the Calm Weather Archway. Flanking the double arches is a pair of pavilions. These are topped with six-sided roofs with sloping ridges. The seaward pavilion is called Kin Rememberance Pavilion while the one facing inland is the Mercy & Compassion Pavilion. To the right of the Dragon Gate Archway is the High Lantern Dragon Column.
Double arches featuring the Dragon Gate Archway and the Calm Weather Archway (29 November, 2012)
The archways and pavilions of Hean Boo Thean Temple, viewed in the direction of the Clan Jetties (29 November, 2012)
Kin Rememberance Pavilion, Hean Boo Thean Temple (29 November, 2012)
The Dragon Gate Archway is walled with glass panels, said to permit a view underwater during very high tide. (How that would be possible goes to be seen. From my observation, there are gaps in the panel that would allow water to pass through, flooding the deck at high tide.)
Glass paneling of the Dragon Gate Archway on the Lower Deck, Hean Boo Thean Temple (29 November, 2012)
The Upper Deck of Hean Boo Thean Temple features the Main Shrine. Also called Shrine of the Goddess of Mercy, it features the image of the South Sea Bodhisattva Kuan Yin. The approach to the Main Shrine is lined with figurines depicting 24 Tales of Filial Piety.
Twelve of the Twenty-Four Tales of Filial Piety at Hean Boo Thean Temple (29 November, 2012)
The new Hean Boo Thean Temple architecture reflects elements of Southern Chinese architecture. The roof of the Main Shrine has a sloping roof ridge with pointed finials, and topped by a pair of prancing dragons. Also featured on the roof is Fu Lu Shou (福禄寿), the Taoist deities representing attributes of Good Fortune (福, fu), Prosperity (禄, lu), and Longevity (寿, shou).
Hean Boo Thean Temple is located at the edge of the Merdeka Reclaimed Land, which is off Weld Quay. It is immediately after Yeoh Jetty. I notice some websites showing an incorrect location for Hean Boo Thean, pointing to a site too far inshore. The temple is actually located further out. See the map on this page.
If you are coming from the Weld Quay Ferry & Bus Terminal, turn left and head down Weld Quay southwards until you see Wisma KGN. The road right in front of it is Lebuhraya Merdeka. Look out for the signboard . There are many alleys through the Merdeka Reclaimed Area that will lead to the site.
Follow the direction as shown below. Click on the letters (A, B, C, ...) to get a street view of the spot you are at.
The entrance to Hean Boo Thean Temple (29 November, 2012)
Photographing Hean Boo Thean Temple
Hean Boo Thean Temple can be photographed from Chew Jetty , Tan Jetty , Tan Jetty Reclaimed Land , Yeoh Jetty and of course from within its premises. Shooting from Chew Jetty provides you a front view of the temple, whereas the other aforementioned sites afford side views.
Hean Boo Thean Temple, as seen from Yeoh Jetty (29 November, 2012)
Hean Boo Thean Temple, as seen from Tan Jetty Reclaimed Land (29 November, 2012)
Hean Boo Thean Temple, as seen from Tan Jetty (29 November, 2012)
Heah Boo Thean Floating Temple, as seen from Chew Jetty (30 June, 2012)
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