Snake Temple
Malay: Tokong Ular
Chinese: 蛇庙
Religion
AffiliationBuddhism, Taoism, Chinese folk beliefs
StatusActive
Location
LocationJalan Tokong Ular, Bayan Lepas
MunicipalityGeorge Town
StatePenang
CountryMalaysia
Snake Temple is located in Central George Town, Penang
Snake Temple
Location within George Town
Geographic coordinates5°18′50.20″N 100°17′06.71″E / 5.3139444°N 100.2851972°E / 5.3139444; 100.2851972
Architecture
TypeChinese temple
Completed1805

The Snake Temple (Chinese: 蛇庙; pinyin: Shé Miào; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tsuâ-biō), also known as the Temple of the Azure Clouds,[1] is a Chinese temple within George Town in the Malaysian state of Penang. Located at Bayan Lepas, the temple is well-known for being a refuge of resident snakes, said to be reincarnated disciples of the deified Buddhist monk Master Qingshui, to whom the temple is dedicated.[1][2]

Devotees from as far away as Singapore, Taiwan and China come to pray in the temple on the monk's birthday (the sixth day of the first lunar month).[3] It was also featured during the 8th leg of The Amazing Race 16 and become a backdrop of Tan Twan Eng's novel "The Gift of Rain" (book 1, chapter 4).[4]

History

The temple was constructed in the 1805 to honour Chor Soo Kong (also known as Master Qingshui), a Buddhist monk who lived during the Song dynasty (960–1279) for his numerous miracles and good deeds especially in healing the sick and giving shelter to snakes.[1][2] When the temple structure was completed in the 1800s, snakes coming from the species of Wagler's pit viper reportedly appeared by themselves.[1][5]

Features

The temple is filled with the smoke of burning incense and a variety of pit vipers.[6] The vipers are believed to be rendered harmless by the sacred smoke, but as a safety precaution, the snakes have been de-venomed while still retaining their fangs.[2][3] Other species of snakes also available in the temple.[2][7] Visitors are warned against picking up the reptiles and placing them on their bodies to take pictures. Aside from the snakes, two brick wells known as the "Dragon Eye Wells/Dragon Pure Water Wells" are located inside the temple together with two giant brass bells.[1] In 2005, a snake breeding centre was set up in the temple.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Gregory Rodgers (30 May 2018). "A Tour of the Snake Temple in Penang, Malaysia". TripSavvy. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Choong Kwee Kim (9 July 2005). "New lure at snake temple in Penang". The Star. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b Erny Suzira (10 January 2016). "Famous places to visit in Malaysia: Penang". The Hive Asia. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  4. ^ Tan Twan Eng. "The Gift of Rain". Retrieved 11 March 2019 – via Goodreads.
  5. ^ Clive Roots (2006). Nocturnal Animals. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-0-313-33546-4.
  6. ^ Alan Teh Leam Seng (16 July 2017). "A Penang Scotsman's legacy". New Straits Times. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  7. ^ Anthony Tan (23 April 2011). "Python the star attraction at Snake Temple". The Star. Retrieved 11 March 2019.