The temple also features gardens, a turtle pond, shrines and beautiful sculptures. This is one of Penang’s most popular attractions.
St. George’s Church
Built with convict labor in 1818, the Anglican Church was named after the patron saint of England, and is one of the region’s oldest.
The Greek temple in the church grounds is a memorial to Francis Light. Today, church goers still flock to the church for service and it remains virtually unchanged.
Kuan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) Temple
Known as the Temple of the Goddess of Mercy, this popular Taoist temple is located close to the Kapitan Kling Mosque on Pitt Street. Believed to be the oldest temple in Penang, it was built in the 1800s by early Chinese settlers.
Kuan Yin was a being who had actually attained Nirvana but stayed behind to save those souls who did not escaped the world of suffering.
The temple is also dedicated to Ma Chor Poh, the virgin goddess of mercy and saint to sea voyagers. The high roof of the main hall is supported by dragon-entwined pillars carved from a type of green stone. The statue of Kuan Yin as a serenely composed woman with 18 arms sits on an inner chamber.
Probably Penang’s most picturesque building, the Khoo Kongsi is made up of two buildings on opposite sides to each other. One building serves as the ancestral temple while the other is used for staging plays and operas.
The Khoo Kongsi is meant only for members of the Leong San Tong (Dragon Mountain Hall) clan, whose forefathers came from Sin Kang village in Hokkien province, China. Construction of the Khoo Kongsi started in 1894 and took eight years to complete.
Its original design was very elaborate meant to capture the splendour of the Chinese imperial palace. Its seven-tiered pavilion, dragon pillars and hand-painted walls engraved with the Khoo emblem was thought to have even outshone the imperial palace itself.
On the first night of its completion, the Khoo Kongsi caught fire and many said it was because the gods were unhappy with the scale of its grandeur. It was then rebuilt on a smaller scale but it still retains the distinctive architecture of the master craftsmen from China.
The Snake Temple was built in 1850 in memory of the Buddhist priest, Choo Sor Kong, who is said to have healing powers. Legend, however, has it that the place used to be the home of a religious man who gave shelter to poisonous snakes when they sought refuge there. After his death, the snakes remained and it became a place of worship.
Also known as Temple of Azure Cloud, the serpents’ shrine is an extraordinary one: poisonous pit vipers busk on altars, incense burners, candlesticks, vases and tables, underfoot and overhead. Recommended for the intrepid visitors.
Sri Mariamman Temple
Penang’s oldest Hindu temple which was built in 1883, is filled with colourful statues of Hindu deities. Among the priceless possessions of this ornate building is a statue of Lord Subramaniam richly decorated with gold, silver, diamonds and emeralds. During Thaipusam festival, the statue is taken on a chariot procession by Hindu devotees.
The world’s third largest reclining Buddha which measures 33 metres in length, is draped in gold-leafed saffron and reclines on a large crematorium.
This Buddhist temple is reminiscent of Bangkok’s many wats. The intricate finish of the interior in vibrant colours and designs is a sample of Thai architecture. Behind the temple is a small Thai village as well as a Thai cemetery.
At this temple, the local Thais celebrate the traditional Buddhist festivals, the Sonkran and the Loy Krathong.