Thien Hau Pagoda

24

Nov
2021

Thien Hau Pagoda

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Also named Hoi Quan Tue Thanh, but commonly known as Chua Ba, or Lady’s Pagoda, this temple is dedicated to Thien Hau, Goddess of the Sea and Patroness of Sailors. Built in the early 1800s by the Cantonese congregation, this is one of the most popular and richly embellished temples in the city. The front courtyard is surrounded by high walls, topped by intricate friezes and carved tableau. The entrance ceiling is more complex, with woodwork and gilt reaching halfway down to the floor.

Inside, the atrium, with its exquisite friezes and reliefs, features giant censers billowing fragrant smoke. The spacious central room has a display case of what seem to be brass clubs with Chinese inscriptions. In fact, these are the nozzles of the fire hoses used to extinguish a fire that threatened the temple in 1898. The walls of this room are covered with prayer flags – red strips of paper on which devotees write their prayers. It is believed that as the breeze rustles the paper, the prayers waft to Thien Hau.

Banks of hanging incense coils grace the main sanctuary ceiling, while three statues of Thien Hau, each flanked by two attendants, preside at the altar. Also hanging from the ceiling is a carved wooden boat that recalls Thien Hau’s connection to the sea. To the right is an image of Long Mau, Goddess of Mothers and Newborns.

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