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The Temple of the Chan Clan

Chan See Shu Yuen Temple

What tourists said about the Chan See Shu Yuen Temple in Petaling Street

“Want to pass your exams?”

Every Chinese homes or buildings, traditionally, would have an altar. This is in fact a library or a place to study. the Chan clan has built many such institution wherever they are.

Much of the structure and design remains as original as it is. Beautifully done. No where one is able to find such craftsmen to build such artistic works. It is very much impressive and appreciated.

In ancient times, there is no google. Therefore, one would have to come to an academic institution to do their research and study.

So, there is an altar. And when you want to pass your exam(s), you come in here to pray and offer at the altar and study hard for your exam(s)

Visited August 2014

chan temple

Entrance of the temple.

“An unending drama in the heavens”

The Chan She Shu Yuen Clan Association temple is over a hundred years old – the name plate on the gate proudly proclaims that it was founded in 1896.

The association’s founders were tin mine tycoons. The history of the association is detailed on a plaque just within the main gate which says that the Chan She Shu Yuen Clan Association Kuala Lumpur & Selangor (CSSY) was built as a Clan Consanguinity Organization.

Consanguinity as we understand it, is just long form for “kinship” – in this case, of those from the ‘Chan’ clan. In other words, the Clan association is a sort of ‘club’ for those with the same surname – in this case ‘Chan’, ‘Tan’ and ‘Chen’ that use the same Chinese characters. Many long years ago, this association would have played a critical role to help new immigrants belonging to the same clan settle in, find work and so on.

All the materials and craftsmen who built this temple were imported from southern China which is where this clan originates. This temple is apparently modelled on the Chan Clan Ancestral Hall in Xi Guan, Guangzhou, China.

The temple is a handsome, low slung, green coloured building – at first glance, nothing very remarkable from the outside – however move a little closer and you will find it hard to stop taking photographs of the magnificently detailed work that adorns this temple both on the outside and the inside.

The temple roof is adorned with elaborately crafted pottery artwork and intricate sculptures – the detail is simply astounding. These sculptures represent Chinese gods, mythological figures and drama personalities as well – the belief being that they tirelessly perform an unending drama in the heavens for the entertainment of ancestors!

This temple is very close to the Maharajalela monorail station – just across the road from the Guan Yin temple (please see my review of the Guan Yin temple), and diagonally opposite the KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall. Admission to the temple is free.

Visited March 2014

chan temple

Chan See Shu Yuen Temple, Kuala Lumpur.

“Beautiful and peaceful”

This is a beautiful Chinese Temple. It is to honour the Chen, Chan and Tan clans and people worship here daily. You will see them (through the smokey haze) light their sticks, hold them aloft, circle them several times, then place them in the urn – for good luck and wellbeing.

They may do this several times – it’s very interesting, but important to keep a respectful distance. The architecture and colour is lovely – the two dragons at the front are stunning. The temple is very easy to find, right at the end of the Petaling Street market, Chinatown.

Visited December 2013
Source: Tripadvisor

About the Chinese temple

Chan See Shu Yuen Temple (陈氏书院) is a finest example of southern Chinese architecture in Malaysia. The temple is built between 1897 and 1906 and some of its magnificent features are pottery-tiled roof and gables as well as specially crafted ceramics depicting mythological scenes.

Several pillars supporting the temple bear images of warriors battling lions and mythical creatures. The edges of the temple are blue ceramic vases while standing on either side of the main entrance are shrines to the female and male guardians of the doorway. The smell of incense burning permeate throughout the temple.

chan temple

Chan See Shu Yuen Temple, Kuala Lumpur.

Origin of the temple

The temple was originally built as a clan association, representing families bearing the related names of Chan, Chen, or Tan and is dedicated to the family ancestor. The clan founders are depicted at the central altar of the temple.

You can also see some of the deceased black and white pictures of the clan members above the altar on the right and left of the temple. Some of these pictures look hand drawn and it look kind of freaky as the image is extremely real life.

Attractions of the temple

If you are bearing the surname of Chan, Chen or Tan, you probably can find out more about the history of your ancestor at this temple. The temple is located on Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur.

As such, you can visit the temple during the day. When the night comes, you can head out to the Petaling Streets.

chan temple

Chan See Shu Yuen Temple, Kuala Lumpur.

How to get to the temple

The temple can be accessed from the Pasar Seni LRT station which takes about 10 to 20 minutes of walk.

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