Thursday, February 17, 2011

Glorious Temple in Raja Uda, Butterworth, Penang.

Sharing with you a glorious temple just behind my house in my hometown through the eyes of Miss Grace Goay : )

Name          : Grace Goay
Status         : Single and Available
Designation : Graphic Designer

Date      : 1st of February 2011 (2days before Chinese New Year)


Tow Boo Kong Temple ( 斗母宫 ), is one of the most distinctive Nine Emperor Gods Temple in Malaysia. Located in Jalan Raja Uda, Butterworth, Penang, this majestic temple stands on 2 plots of land with a total area of 40, 000 square feet.

Myth has it that one of the senior Master was entrusted to diligently spread and expand the Nine Emperor Gods beliefs and preaching. To begin this task, he was asked to set out to the beach with an urn to welcome back the Nine Emperor Gods to the temple during the deities’ birthday celebration. After receiving this message, the senior Master embarked on his mission.

For more info about Tow Boo Kong Temple please log on to

Introduction to The Nine Emperor Gods 

The Nine Emperor Gods Jiǔ Huáng Xīng Jūn / Jiǔ Huáng Da Di (九皇星君/九皇大帝) are the nine sons manifested by Father Emperor Zhou Yu Dou Fu Yuan Jun (斗父周御國王天尊) and Mother of the Big Dipper Dou Mu Yuan Jun (斗母元君) who holds the Registrar of Life and Death. The worship of Dou Fu Yuan Jun has declined strongly as proper teachings of Taoism degenerate since being exported out of China.

Today, most Nine Emperor God temples do not acknowledge the existence of Dou Fu Yuan Jun. However, Dou Fu Yuan Jun is invoked alongside Dou Mu Yuan Jun in Great Dipper Honouring known as Li Dou (禮斗) ceremonies. According To Priest Long Hua, the 35th Generation Leader of Long Shan Men Taoist Sect (Singapore), honouring the Northern Dipper stars prolongs one's life, eliminate calamities, and absolves sins and past debts of oneself and his family.

The term Ye (爺) as in Jiu Huang Ye (九皇爺) loosely translates as "Grandfather", a title worshipers commonly use to bring a more intimate relationship between themselves and the Nine Emperors. The Nine Emperor Gods should not be mixed up with the Wang Ye or Princes of the Ming rebels. Popular folk culture has it that the Nine Emperor Gods are actually sea pirates of the Ming dynasty that plotted to overthrow the Qing dynasty. According to Priest Long Hua, this information is inaccurate and considered derogatory to the actual teachings of Taoism as the Nine Emperor Gods are actually high ranking Star Lords who preside over the movement of planets and coordinate mortal Life and Death issues.

The Nine Emperors is formed by the 7 stars of the Big Dipper of the North Ursa Major (visible) and two assistant stars (invisible). When viewed closely, the arrangement of the 7 stars "the Ladle" and the 2 assistant stars on its left and right resembles a Yin-Yang pattern form.


Magnificent arch at the entrance of the Temple.

The combination of the lanterns and the golden light just took my breath away...

Lion statues before entrance to the temple,  They are the protector of Truth and to keep off evils.

The Four Heavenly Kings. They are the four guardian gods, each of whom watches over one cardinal direction of the world.

1. In the East: "Dhritarastra 东方持国天王"
Represents "Compassion" and a guardian of the land of a country. Usually the one holding a Pipa (a chinese instrument), symbolizing the use of music to encourage sentient beings to seek refuge in buddhism, protecting the east.

2. In the South: "Vidradhaka 南方增长天王"
Generally means one who can encourage sentient beings to prolong their roots of kindness. He uses a sword, protecting the south.

3. In the West: "Virapaksa 西方广目天王"
Generally means one who can look very far and observe the world and protect the people. Usually has a red body and is the leader of the 4 kings. He carries a dragon, to allow people to have clarity to see the buddha. He was in charge of protecting the west.

4. In the North: "Vaisramana 北方多闻天王" (sometimes also known as "毗沙门 Pisamen")
Generally means "one who knows alot". Usually has a green body and carries an umbrella on his right hand and carries a magic mouse on his left hand. These were used to subdue the demons and protect and maintain people's wealth. Sometimes, he is also known as the God of prosperity in India.

In Chinese they are known collectively as "Fēng Tiáo Yǔ Shùn" (風調雨順 / 风调雨顺), which translates into "Good Climate".

 知足常乐(zi zu chang le) All is good when you can be with what is now.

First Sanctum (Front Prayer Hall)
This prayer hall houses Deity Dou Mu, the principal deity of this temple. Also known as The Dipper Mother, Deity Dou Mu sits in the centre of the hall altar while the Nine Emperor Gods are seated below the goddess on the same altar. On both sides of the altar are deities like The Third Lotus Prince (Nezha), The Spirit of the North (Seong Tay Kong), The Cycle God (Tai Sui), The Monkey God(Sun Wukong), just to name a few.

The first recorded use of incense was by the Egyptians.

Incense use in religious ritual was either further or simulteaneously developed in China, and eventually transmitted to Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

Incense holds an invaluable role in East Asian Buddhist ceremonies and rites as well as in those of Chinese Taoist and Japanese Shinto shrines. It is reputed to be a method of purifying the surroundings, bringing forth an assembly of buddhas, bodhisattvas, gods, demons, and the like.

Inner Courtyard
The inner courtyard with a dragon spewing water from its mouth stood majestically in this part of the temple. This huge stone carving is stunning and has nine magnificent dragons craved on it. There is also a large mural painting of a 100 children 百子图 on the wall opposite the fountain. It is believed that the painting signifies fertility.

Third Sanctum (Dou Mu Prayer Hall)
Deity Dou Mu or in Chinese, 斗母娘娘 (Dou Mu Niang Niang) sits in the deepest and revered place in the last sanctum of the temple. The other deities worshipped here are Deity Bei Dou 北斗星君 (Bei Dou Xing Jun) and Deity Nan Dou 南斗星君(Nan Dou Xing Jun).

Deity Dou Mu
(Dou Mu Niang Niang)

Deity Nan Dou
(Nan Dou Xing Jun)

Deity Bei Dou
(Bei Dou Xing Jun)

On top : 阴阳Yin and Yang

Lastly, a nice shot of the temple roof in golden light.


  1. very very nice temple! i didn't know got such beautiful temple in Penang.

    Awesome photos too!

  2. Magnificient Chinese temple architecture.Pls include more information of this temple such as holy festivals,sacred worshipping period and etc.