Timothy Tye
Butterworth Tow Boo Kong Temple (北海斗母宫)


Tow Boo Kong, the Nine Emperor Gods Temple of Butterworth (18 September, 2004)


The Butterworth Tow Boo Kong Temple (GPS: 5.4403, 100.38734) 北海斗母宫, also called the Butterworth Nine Emperor Gods Temple, or Rumah Berhala Tow Boo Kong Butterworth, is one of the biggest temples in Butterworth. It is located on Jalan Raja Uda, approximately across from Jalan Kenanga and Jalan Melati, to the south of the junction Butterworth Outer Ring Road.

360° View of the Butterworth Nine Emperor Gods Temple on Google Maps Street View

Entrance to the Tow Boo Kong Temple of Butterworth.

The Butterworth Nine Emperor Gods Temple is on the map of Butterworth



The Butterworth Nine Emperor Gods Temple began as an attap shed on a rented plot in 1971. Over the years, two plots of land, namely Lots 894 and 896. From the small shed, the first plot of land, Lot 896, was bought in 1974, and a small temple was built on it. The second plot of land, Lot 894, was purchased in 1986. The present structure was completed on 26 April 2000, at a cost of RM7 million.

The Butterworth Nine Emperor Gods Temple has a magnificent archway gate facing Jalan Raja Uda. It occupies a roughly rectangular plot of land. The temple complex comprises a series of halls and courtyards.

Tow Boo Kong, the Nine Emperor Gods Temple of Butterworth (18 September, 2004)


Grand Archway, Butterworth Tow Boo Kong Temple (29 January, 2009)


Front view, Tow Boo Kong Temple Archway (29 January, 2009)


The Nine Emperor Gods are part of a Taoist cult belief known as Kew Ong Yah in Hokkien, and Kow Wong Yeh in Cantonese. It venerates Dǒu Mǔ (斗母), known in both Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism as the Marici Deva (摩利支天菩萨), or goddess of the heavens. She is regarded as the mother of the Nine Emperor Gods (Jiǔ Huáng Da Di, 九皇大帝). Within the ornate shrine hall of the Butterworth Tow Boo Kong Temple are the images of these deities.

The worship of the Nine Emperor Gods was prevalent in the southern provinces of China, particularly Fujian Province, and the practise spread from there to Malaysia, southern Thailand and Singapore.

Every year, the Nine Emperor Gods Festival is held on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. This is when the spirit of the Nine Emperor Gods. which are believed to dwell in the stars descend to earth and possess the spirit mediums, putting them on a trance. During the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, stalls are set up to sell vegetarian food and special Kew Ong Yah vegetarian cakes and goodies.

Gottlieb Road commercial area (15 April, 2006)


Tow Boo Kong, front entrance (18 September, 2004)


Gottlieb Road commercial area (15 April, 2006)


Ceiling of the shrine hall, Butterworth Tow Boo Kong Temple (18 September, 2004)


Shrine to Tow Boo and the Nine Emperor Gods (18 September, 2004)


Getting to the Butterworth Nine Emperor Gods Temple

Nine Emperor Gods Temple of Butterworth is located along Jalan Raja Uda. From the junction of Jalan Raja Uda with the Butterworth-Kulim Expressway, head north. A short distance from the intersection of Jalan Raja Uda with the Butterworth Outer Ring Road, BORR, be on the look out of the temple located on the right side of the road.

There isn't a bus stop that is anywhere along the main road in front of the Nine Emperor Gods Temple. The nearest bus stop which is on Jalan Mong Yi How is served by Rapid Penang Bus 604. It is quite a distance to walk from there.

Other Nine Emperor Gods temples in Penang


Dragon ornamentation on the roof ridges, Butterworth Tow Boo Kong Temple (15 April, 2006)


The dragon pillars of the Butterworth Nine Emperor Gods Temple (15 April, 2006)


Inner sanctuary, Butterworth Nine Emperor Gods Temple (18 September, 2004)


Butterworth Nine Emperor Gods Temple, rear view (29 January, 2009)


Roof details of the Butterworth Nine Emperor Gods Temple (29 January, 2009)


Dragon roof ridge, Butterworth Nine Emperor Gods Temple (15 April, 2006)


Side view, Butterworth Nine Emperor Gods Temple (29 January, 2009)

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