Burmese Temple Penang
The Dhammikarama Burmese temple Penang is one of the oldest temples on the island. It was founded in 1803 and today it's the largest Theravada Buddhist Temple in Malaysia. Today it is one of the highlights in visiting Gurney Drive, some say: the heartbeat of Penang. This place of worship was purchased from George Layton for 390 Spanish dollars. The complex contains a historical pagoda, a temple well and a Sima hall (prayer hall).
The temple is presently managed by the Seventh Chief Monk to facilitate and complement the practice of Buddhism.
The temple has a main shrine hall, Sima Hall, dining hall, monk quarters, preceptees lodge, Sunday school classrooms, a library and a lecture hall.
The complex has a beautiful garden around the temple well. Inside the temple you find some awesome woodcarving (priceless teak wood) on the ceilings and along the pillars and behind the 16 standing images of the Buddha.
The central standing Buddha is 8.2 meters high. At the moment the standing Buddha receives a new layer of paper gold leaves. The process is almost finished as one monk explained me.
The gold on the Buddha is a mix of copper and 30% gold.
Behind the standing Buddha are, as said, 16 standing Buddha's. These statues are donations from 16 different Buddhist countries including Thailand, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and even Afghanistan.
The hall which is dominated by the Standing Buddha is surprisingly cool and has almost all over gorgeous teak wood carving (this alone is worth a visit).
On the right right of the hall is a small Buddha statue, now taken to the front of its home. The Buddha statue is more then 200 years. Inside the shrine the original resting place is nowadays so soaked that the statue may fall and break. The good thing is that visitors can have a much better view of the old statue.
Behind the temple is the temple well and a small beautiful park with a pond. In the middle of the pond you will find a small shrine with a Buddha statue.
The scenery radiates peace and tranquility and it is not for nothing this place is well visited.
The Burmese Temple Penang temple hall in the back is maybe less impressive in architecture, the main Buddha statue is strangely beautiful.
I believe it's a female and if its not, then it's close enough. Again the peacefulness is only disturbed by a bell once in a while and the whispering of people.
The Burmese Temple in Penang is worth a visit, even if you have seen your share of temples in Thailand, Burma (Myanmar) or Malaysia. Although the name suggest different, the temple is a mixture of Burmese, Thai and Chinese elements. Not for nothing this old (though not the oldest) temple is one the Penang heritage list and although the temple is a major tourist attraction, it is also still in functional use. Highly recommended.
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Other temples in Penang
Gurney Drive is the exciting northern part of Penang island. Here you find the modern world embedded in the traditions of Malaysia.