Thien Hou Temple天后宫@ Tumpat

Posted: April 27, 2010 in Sights
Tags: ,

I am ashamed to say that – as a Tumpatese ( that was what one of my colleague categorized me as, anyway…)  and after all these years ( well, let’s not get into the details), this was my first visit to the Tumpat Thien Hou Temple.

 As far as I know ( not that I can see very far or know much), this is probably one of the few ( or maybe only one ?) Chinese temple in Tumpat ! Thai temples dominate the area like maybe 30:1 ? ( don’t quote me on this figure). But I can see that some newly built Thai temples or even existing ones, sometimes include or add some ‘chinese’ origin deity to the temple new wing or structures,  to cater for the Chinese community. So, even before the 1Malaysia thingy, the temples were farsighted enough to unite and have the 1Temple concept .But I digress…

The Thien Hou temple fence was eye catching in yellow and maroon. During the day of our visit, the front gate was closed but not locked, we unlatched the gate and made our way into the temple feeling a bit like trespassers.


The building with wide span wooden trusses, faded lanterns, painted yellow interior , very simple and basic – no gregarious dragons prancing on elaborate columns, looked a bit run down but yet, it felt like an elderly relative, kind and approachable ( oh..sorry, you mean your elderly relatives are all grouchy and intimidating ?)


 On a closer look ..

The richly attired  Deities with elaborate head coverings


You can also check with the Gods what the heavens have in store for you by shaking a wooden/bamboo vase like thingy , which is filled with numbered sticks. Shake the container up, down, left or  right, anyway you want it – a few times (concentrate while you do this and think about what you would like to know about your life or think pleasant happy thoughts) , after a while   there should be one ‘stick’ that will stand out among the many ( if more than one, continue the process until you only get one stick (unless you feel kinda kiasu and want to have 2 sticks for ‘safety purposes’  ) .Referring to the number on the stick, go to the ‘board’ ( shown below) and extract the correct piece of paper that will show you your destiny….. 


The most interesting part about the temple was the location -Kampung Tanjong Che Mas, is right smack in a malay kampong. But both temple and kampong manage to co-exist all these years without any unfavourable incident ( well, why should there be ? ).


Some info from web searches…

Other popular names for  Thein Hou include :  Mazu媽祖 and  Thien Shang Shen Mu天上聖母 ( empress of heaven) –among other names .

Extract from Wikipedia :  Mazu is the indigenous goddess of the sea which is said to protect fisherman and sailors , and is invoked as the goddess who protects East Asians who are associated with the ocean. Born as Lin Moniang林默娘; in Fujian around 960 CE, cult worship of Mazu began around the Ming Dynasty, when many temples dedicated to her were erected all across Mainland China, later spreading to other countries with Southern Chinese inhabitants.

Although she started swimming relatively late at the age of 15, she soon became an excellent swimmer. She wore red garments while standing on the shore to guide fishing boats home, even in the most dangerous and harsh weather.

According to legend, Lin Moniang’s father and brothers were fishermen. One day, a terrible typhoon arose while they were out at sea, and the rest of her family feared that those at sea had perished. In the midst of this storm, depending on the version of the legend, she fell into a trance while praying for the lives of her father and brothers or dreamed of her father and brothers while she was sleeping or sitting at a loom weaving. In either story, her father and brother were drowning. However, Moniang’s mother now discovered her and tried to wake her, and diverted Moniang’s attention, causing her to drop her brother, who as a result drowned. Consequently, Moniang’s father returned alive and told the other villagers that a miracle  had happened.

 Some other interesting sites ( with video of Spirit Medium of Mazu) Taiwan Mazu Society – Chinese  – Mazu temple in Taiwan ( broadband is rather slow at time of posting, i can’t seemed to be able to load the 3D virtual tour of the temple.) Quen Zhou ( China) Thien Hou temple website – Chinese

  1. Han says:


    Thanks for this post. Perhaps there could be Chinese villagers in the Kampong?

  2. pegasuskl says:

    Hey Han, Yes, there are some chinese families staying around this area, not many of them though.

  3. wak says:

    It is Kampung Besut , Tumpat not Tanjung Che Mas

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