In 1861, 11th year of the reign of Qing Emperor Xianfeng (大清咸丰十一年), the Hokkien community in Rangoon (today’s Yangon) founded the Kheng Hock Keong， 庆福宫 (Qing Fu Gong). Members of the Hokkien community as well as Chinese Shipping companies in Rangoon contributed funds for the Mazu temple construction located in the Yangon Chinatown.
Deities in Kheng Hock Keong
The temple was dedicated to Mazu, 妈祖 the Sea goddess and the temple name Kheng Hock Keong 庆福宫 (Temple in celebration of prosperity/fortune) was chosen in appreciation to Mazu for her blessings during their sea voyages as well as for their prosperity and fortune in Burma. The Hokkien community’s clan association, The Fukienese Association 福建同乡会 is also located in the temple.
The frontcourt of the Kheng Hock Keong has an air well with corridors surrounding it leading to the main hall where the main deities are enshrined in altars. Mazu, the main deity is enshrined in the central altar. To her left is Guan Gong 关公and to her right is Bao Sheng Da Di, 保生大帝 the God of medicine.
This layout was similar to an earlier Mazu temple, Thian Hock Keng, 天福宫 built by the Singapore Hokkien Chinese in 1840. During subsequent restorations, a Guan Yin sculpture was added to the main shrine just behind Mazu.
Kheng Hock Keong is the main site of celebration for major festivals such as Chinese New Year, 农历新年, Mid Autumn, 中秋节, as well as religious events such as birthday celebration of various deities. These events attract large crowds who arrive to participate in celebrations or to give their thanks.
On 11 Nov 2011, Kheng Hock Keng celebrated its 150th anniversary. As part of this celebration, sculptures of the Four Heavenly Kings were installed at the main entrance. A renovation also took place.
More importantly, they have documented the temple's history in an publication.
Kheng Hock Keng & the Chinese community
Throughout the year, the temple courtyard is a popular place for senior citizen to chat or to indulge in a game of chess with their friends.
As a temple and a clan association, the Kheng Hock Keong continues with its historical mission to serve the community. They have established a free clinic 庆福宫义务诊疗所near the temple and have a social welfare program for elderly citizens. Not forgetting the younger generation, the temple has also establish free mandarin classes for young Chinese Burmese.
Kheng Hock Keng also supports Burmese social endeavors such as contributing funds for the construction of Burmese temples. An example is their financial support for the construction of Sule Pagoda, a Burmese Theravada Monastery complex, where the hair relic of the Buddha is enshrined.
These activities reflected the spirit of earlier generations when they founded Kheng Hock Keong. While they rejoice in their blessings and good fortune, they have not forgotten to share that blessing with the larger society. The various projects today reflect that spirit of contributing back to society.
Kheng Hock Keong, 庆福宫
(Qing Fu Gong）
426 – 432 Strand Road
Intersection between Strand Road and Sin Oh Dan Street