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San Jiang Temple, Penang (22 December, 2006)
San Jiang Temple (GPS: 5.40728, 100.33587; Traditional Chinese: 三江廟; Simplified Chinese: 三江庙; Pinyin: Sānjiāng Miào), which means Temple of Three Rivers, is a newly re-constructed Hokkien-Chinese temple in the Macallum Street Ghaut area. It opened on 15 November 2006, and is located next to the Kompleks Pulau Mutiara at Lintang Macallum 3, it is the temple of the Hui'an Hokkiens who hailed from Quanzhou County in Fujian Province, China.
San Jiang Temple honours its three patron deities, collectively called the Tai Por Kong, which translates as Deities of Great Salvation. As with most Taoist deities, Tai Por Kong are military officials who are deitified. They are late Tang Dynasty generals namely General Bao, General Ti and General Qiu who were instrumental in introducing the culture and arts of the Tang Dynasty to Fujian Province.
San Jiang Temple, front façade (12 April, 2013)
The Hokkien people of Donghai, in Fujian Province, were the first to worship these generals, when they built the Ninghai Temple and dedicated it to them. The three generals were initially called Zong Xun Gong, meaning Chief Deities of Patrol. It was only later that the name Tai Por Kong came into use.
The worship of Zong Xun Gong spread from Donghai to Hui'an and Sin Kang, the mother village of the Khoo clans of Khoo Kongsi. When vast numbers of Hokkien people took to the seas leaving Fujian Province, they brought with them the worship of Tai Por Kong.
San Jiang Temple, main entrance (22 December, 2006)
The Hui'an Hokkiens arriving in Penang settled in Koay Kang Ngar, an area whose name translates as "across the river". The river as mentioned refers to the Praingin River, which is more correctly the Praingin Canal nowadays. This is the neighbourhood that includes Magazine Road, Noordin Street, Presgrave Street, Tye Sin Street, and a few others in the Chit-Teow Loh (Seven Roads) area.
The first Tai Por Kong Temple in Penang was established by a Sin Kean Seng, a trishaw-man, in 1920. By the 1990's, that temple has become old, so the temple committee started a donation campaign to build a new temple. Contributions came from the local Hokkien as well as those in China and elsewhere. The name of the temple itself, San Jiang, is derived from that of the original Tai Por Kong temple in Hui'an which overlooks three rivers.
San Jiang Temple, view from the outer chamber to the inner sanctuary (22 December, 2006)
Great care was taken to ensure authenticity of the material. Hence the majority of building material for San Jiang Temple had to be imported from China. The temple is the only one in Malaysia with sixty different Tai Sui, the deities of time and planets. Outside the temple is a granite statue of a mystical beast that looks like half tortoise half dragon.
A major celebratory day at the San Jiang Temple is on the 11th day of the 10th lunar month. That is the "birthday" of the Tai Por Kong deities, and many devotees would converge on the temple to offer their prayers.
Main altar, San Jiang Temple (22 December, 2006)
How to go to San Jiang Temple
San Jiang Temple can be reached from the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway. If you are heading north from the direction of Penang Bridge to George Town, turn right at the second traffic lights exiting the expressway in the direction of the Harbour Trade Centre. From the other direction, leaving Weld Quay, be on the look out for the Harbour Trade Centre sign.
After exiting the expressway, drive east in the direction of the sea, until you reach Lintang Macallum 3, and turn into it. (Turning right will take you to the Nine Emperor Gods Temple.) Kompleks Pulau Mutiara is on your left while Harbour Trade Centre on your right. Go all the way to the end of the road, and you will see the San Jiang Temple on your left.
Replica of a Chinese junk, similar to those that brought the Hui'an Hokkien people from Fujian Province to faraway Nanyang (22 December, 2006)
Tai Sui figurines, San Jiang Temple (22 December, 2006)
Ancestral Tablet Hall, San Jiang Temple (22 December, 2006)
Looking out from the Altar Chamber of San Jiang Temple (22 December, 2006)
Door gods of San Jiang Temple (22 December, 2006)
Mystical beast sculptures, San Jiang Temple (22 December, 2006)
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