Tham-Gong Temple, a cultural gem nestled in Seri Kembangan, Malaysia.
Tham-Gong Temple traces its roots back to Hui Zhou, Guangdong Province in China, where many current Seri Kembangan villagers originated from. The temple’s relocation from Bukit Jalil (1896) to its current site in Seri Kembangan took place in 1948 during the emergency period in Malaya.
According to legend, Tham-Gong, believed to have lived during the Yuan Dynasty, possessed extraordinary abilities from a young age. He aided fishermen and boatmen, predicted weather patterns, and provided healing to the afflicted. At the age of thirteen, Tham-Gong achieved transcendence, ascending to a higher realm. In commemoration of his virtuous life, the villagers erected Tham-Gong Temple as a place of reverence and remembrance.
One notable feature of Tham-Gong Temple is its adaptation of the residential house form, incorporating a central courtyard. This design element allows abundant natural light to permeate the temple.
Additionally, the courtyard at Tham-Gong Temple served as a home for revered tortoises, animals considered sacred in Chinese culture.
To ensure optimal ventilation and airflow, Tham-Gong Temple incorporates vent blocks and strategically placed windows throughout the building. These architectural features allow a steady flow of fresh air, creating a pleasant environment for worshipers and visitors alike.
Centuries ago, temples played a crucial role as centers of education, providing private and free schooling opportunities. Tham-Gong Temple’s influence extended beyond its religious functions, as the temple committee actively contributed to the establishment of several schools across Malaysia. Notable examples include SJK (C) Tai Thung and SJK (C) Chi Hwa in Sandakan, as well as SJK (C) Chi Chi, leaving an indelible mark on the educational landscape.