Teong Poh Keong venerates the Taoist deity Xuan Wu (玄武), who goes by the title of Xuantian Shangdi (玄天上帝), meaning Mysterious Heavenly Upper Emperor. This is the format I would expect to see when the temple is ready. This Taoist deity is popular with Hokkien people in Fujian, Guangdong and in Southeast Asia. Description of him appears in the classic novel, Journey to the West. The image of Xuan Wu is usually flanked by two attendants, namely General Wan Gong (萬公) and General Wan Ma (萬媽).
The Teong Poh Keong Temple dates to 1935. In the early days, it was just a small shrine. The present building was constructed from 2009 but is only scheduled for completion in April 2013 (I wrote this in February 2013, and updated it in June 2013). It follows the architectural style of Hokkien temples. The front porch is supported by four granite dragon pillars. The front façade is finished with sculptured granite featuring a floral motif.
Teong Poh Keong Temple (1 June, 2013)
Teong Poh Keong Temple (6 February, 2013)
Portico of Teong Poh Keong Temple, with the roof supported by dragon pillars (6 February, 2013)
Portico of Teong Poh Keong Temple with its dragon pillars and ornate main altar (1 June, 2013)
The new Teong Poh Keong Temple building has an ornate roof. A pair of dragons grace the sloping roof ridge. The temple has a single-storey shrine hall with the usual three-alcove format, with the principal deity installed in the middle one.
The approach to the portico of Teong Poh Keong Temple is lined on either sides with animals of the Chinese zodiac. There are six on the right and six on the left. The animals on the right are the rat, cow, tiger, rabbit, dragon and snake, while on the left, the are the horse, goat, monkey, chicken, dog and swine.
Six animals of the zodiac, Teong Poh Keong Temple (1 June, 2013)
Another six animals of the zodiac. The old Teong Poh Keong Temple in the background (1 June, 2013)
At the compound of the new Teong Poh Keong Temple is an enclosure. In keeping with its name, there are live pythons on one side of the enclosure, while on the other side, live tortoises. The two sides of the enclosure are separated to prevent the pythons from attacking the tortoises.
The Snake and Tortoise Enclosure, Teong Poh Keong Temple (1 June, 2013)
One of the python in the enclosure at Teong Poh Keong Temple (1 June, 2013)
Tortoises, Teong Poh Keong Temple (1 June, 2013)
Teong Poh Keong Temple under construction
These are photos taken when the new Teong Poh Keong Temple was under construction.
Artisan putting the finishing touch to the three-alcove shrine at Teong Poh Keong Temple (6 February, 2013)
New incense burner at Teong Poh Keong Temple (6 February, 2013)
The new Teong Poh Keong Temple under construction in 2010 (1 August, 2010)
Old Teong Poh Keong Temple
This was the old Teong Poh Keong temple, before the new building was erected. The old temple building is located next to the new one.
The old Teong Poh Keong Temple (6 February, 2013)
How to go to Teong Poh Keong Temple
The nearest bus stop is along Cecil Street Ghaut. It is served by Rapid Penang bus 303. From there, walk to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway, cross the intersection at the traffic lights, turn left, and walk a short distance beside the expressway to arrive at the temple on your right. Total walking distance is about 5-15 minutes.
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