The Thean Hock Keong Temple in Bagan Ajam is one of the oldest temples in Butterworth, Penang. It was founded in the Year of the Dog, 1888. A prominent Penangite Khoo Thean Teik was a major benefactor who contributed to the construction. The present Thean Hock Keong Temple was completed on January 3, 1997. The exterior is of ornately carved granite. There are two pavilions in the raised front court.
The patron deity at the Thean Hock Keong is Kwan Kong. Like many Taoist deities, Kwan Kong, whose name is Guan Yu (162-219), was a deified military general under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms period. The historical account of Guan Yu's life has since been mixed with legend and fiction, passed down the generations as folklore, and was depicted in the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
Kwan Kong is usually portrayed as a red-faced warrior with a long black beard. While his beard was mentioned in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, his red face was most likely derived from Chinese opera, where red faces represent loyalty and righteousness. He is usually shown holding a Kwan Dao, a pole weapon that is often used in wushu. The creation of Kwan Dao is attributed to Kwan Kong.
How to go to Thean Hock Keong Temple
The Thean Hock Keong Temple is located along Jalan Pantai Bersin in Bagan Ajam, a short distance from the sea at Jalan Pantai Bersih. At the junction between Jalan Teluk Air Tawar, Jalan Sungai Puyu and the Butterworth Outer Right Road (BORR), proceed north into Jalan Teluk Air Tawar, and take the first turning on the left. The Thean Hock Keong Temple is a short distance down the road, on the right side of the road.
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