Chan See Shu Yuen
172, Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Working hours: 8:00 – 18:00
The Chan See Shu Yuen is one of the largest and oldest Buddhist temples to have been left preserved in Malaysia. It is situated in Chinatown’s very heart – on the Jalan Petaling, which has been the Kuala Lumpur Chinese community’s major cultural center since the foundation of the city. The Chan See Shu Yuen is also known as the Green Temple, having acquired this second, unofficial name in homage to the green ceramic tiles with which building’s walls and roof are covered.
The temple was built during the period between 1897 and 1906, and was the family shrine of the Chan, Chen and Tan clans alike. Since its opening, the temple’s main goal has been to help and support Chinese immigrants to the country, although especial focus has been given to the representatives of the aforementioned families, who migrated to Kuala Lumpur in massive numbers at the beginning of the last century. Even today, the Chan See Shu Yuen has a double function as a Buddhist temple and an original community center for the city’s Chinese diaspora.
The Chan See Shu Yuen is known as one of the most attractive sights of the Malay capital thanks to its rich and incredibly colorful décor. The first thing that draws vistors' attention on the approach to the building are the terracotta bas-reliefs depicting scenes from Chinese history and characters of Buddhist mythology. The original roof was made in the rare Chinese style Kwang-Tung, and is at least as attractive as the entranceway. Thanks its intricate carvings, the roof ridge closely resembles a dragon's back.
The temple’s interior is adorned with colorful paintings, wood carvings and ceramic lamps, while the columns supporting the arches of the main hall are artfully adorned with depictions of soldiers fighting lions, dragons, and a range of other mythical creatures. Statues of the three main deities and of a Chinese emperor from the Sung Dynasty draw visitors’ attention inside the temple, with murals depicting the golden sun placed over the emperor’s figure only improving the effect. Meanwhile blue ceramic vases and small figurines of peasants adorn hall’s edges.
The Chan Si Shu Yen is the venue for a range of vivid Buddhist festivals. Visitors can combine a visit to this temple with a visit to another gem the city's Chinatown – Hindu Sri Mahamariamman Temple, which is located on the neighboring street.