Thean Hou Temple, 天后宫
On 30th Aug 1981, members of the Selangor and Federal Territory Hainan Association (clan association), 雪隆海南会馆, laid the foundation stone for one of the largest Chinese temples in South East Asia.
This was the Thean Hou Temple, 天后宫, on the Robson Hill in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Six years and RM 7 million later, the 1.67 acres, 4 storey Thean Hou Temple was finally completed and officially opened on 3rd September 1989.
As the temple is dedicated to Mazu, 妈祖, the Sea Goddess, her sculpture occupies the main shrine on the third floor of the temple. Next to Mazu are the Goddess of the Waterfront, 水尾圣娘, a Hanianese deity and Guan Yin, Goddess of Mercy, 观世音菩萨.
On the temple grounds, tourists can admire the exquisite sculptures and painitng depicting myths relating to Mazu and other Chinese legends such as the 12 zodiac and Yue Lao.
The temple supposedly has about 100 events throughout the year. Traditional Chinese festivals such as the Chinese New Year, Mid Autumn, Vesak are celebrated as well as the birthday commemorations of the three deities.
The Mazu birthday celebration in the Thean Hou Temple is supposed to be one of the largest held outside of China. The event will probably attract more visitors and tourists since the Mazu belief and custom has been designated as "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2009.
The temple also has a marriage registration bureau and attracts up to 5000 couples each year especially during the auspicious eighth lunar month.
With such a line up of programs, it means that anyone visiting the Thean Hou Temple is likely to witness some celebration or special event going on. It offers visitors an authentic experience of Chinese cultural activities in Kuala Lumpur and even Malaysia.