Tow Boo Kong Temple, Butterworth

high-definition creative commons photographs from a modern and richly decorated Taoist temple in Butterworth, Malaysia, together with further information.

Play Moving Slideshow (40)


use j/k or left/right arrow
to navigate through the photos below


The Nine Emperor Gods Temple of Butterworth (now renamed to Tow Boo Kong Temple) began as an attap shed on a rented plot of land in 1970. In 1974, a piece of land was purchased to build a small temple. It was completed on the same year and was officially used as a place of worship. Due to future development plans, a second plot of land was purchased in 1986.

In 1994 the temple committee decided to rebuild a new Nine Emperor Gods Temple consisting of three sections; namely, the Front Prayer Hall, the Sacred Prayer Room and the Dou Mu Prayer Hall. There is an inner Courtyard located behind the Sacred Prayer Room and a Conference Room situated at the basement of the temple.

With donations from devotees, the public, other temples and also with the kind support of the Government the construction of the temple started in 1996. On 26 April 2000, the temple, with a total land area of 40,000 square feet, was officially completed at a cost of RM 7 million.

As the temple does not have a gate, the temple committee decided to build an arch as the main entrance to the temple. The cost of the arch was RM 1.5 million and was completed in the year 2008.

There is a Front Prayer Hall, where you will be greeted by the four generals, Si Da Jin Gang, on each side of the entrance. There are also two idols of the door generals (Mui Shin). This spectacular door piece with intricate carving is crafted from a single tree trunk and it is covered with gold leaves.

Dou Mu, the mother in the Taoist Pantheon, sits in the centre of the hall altar while the Nine Emperor Gods are seated below the goddess on the same altar. On the right and left hand side of the altar are deities like Tai Chu, Seong Tay Kong, Tai Sui and Tai Seng Yah, just to name a few.

The Sacred Prayer Room houses the Urn of the Nine Emperor Gods and only certain members of the temple, who are specially selected by the Gods, are allowed to enter. During the Nine Emperor God's festival, this Urn is taken to the sea to welcome the Gods back to the temple.

Dou Mu Niang Niang or Tow Boo Neo Neo (Mother of Nine Gods) sits in the deepest and most revered place of the temple. Two other deities are also placed in this prayer hall; they are Deity Lam Sin and Deity Pak Tao.

The inner courtyard, with a dragon spewing water from its mouth, stands majestically in this part of the temple. This stone carving is huge and has 9 magnificent dragons craved on it. Everyone who comes here will throw some coins into the fountain to make a wish. There is also a large painting of a 100 children on the wall opposite the fountain. It is believed that the painting signifies the continuity of generation.

text based mainly on a brochure published by the temple.


Yin-Yang Motif
Yin-Yang Motif


Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu

About this Website

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License