Saturday, August 11, 2007

Chinatown - Thian Hock Keng Temple

Jumped into the car to drive to Tekka but decided to take a detour down to Chinatown for this beauty. That I suddenly remembered that I popped into on a whim to say a prayer a long time ago.
Gazetted as a national monument in 1972, the temple has undergone a massive two and half year restoration from July1998. Thian Hock Keng began as a humble joss house in 1821-22. Erected in honor of Ma Zu Po, the protector of seafarers and Chinese immigrants would go there to offer thanks for a safe passage. Between 1839 and 1842, philanthropist Tan Tock Seng rebuilt the joss house as the Thian Hock Keng Temple.
Constructed using traditional techniques, Thian Hock Keng are support entirely on bricks and wooden posts, with no nails in any part of the main structure. In the main prayer hall, the shrine of the Queen of Heaven occupies the central place. Guan Ti, the God of War, and Bao Sheng Da Di, the Protector of Life, flank her. In the rear courtyard is an altar to Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy.It was in this temple that the biggest Hokkien clan association – the Hokkien Huay Kuan – was born. Here are more photos of the exquisite workmanship in the temple and the brass urns at the various altars. Below is a pagoda on the side of the temple.Pair of dragons on the doors.A pair of door gods.Door godDoors opened showing a door panel each.Wood carving of a joint beam above the main entrance.Brass urn for Guan Yin.Brass knocker.Ceramic tiles.

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