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Dhammikarama Temple





This resplendent temple is in the suburbs of Pulau Tikus in Georgetown, Penang. It is directly opposite of Wat Chayamangkalaram which is a Thai temple in Burmah Lane. Besides being known for being the only Burmese temple in Penang, it is also the oldest Buddhist temple in Penang as it was built in 1803. The Dhammikarama Burmese Temple is a ‘kyaung’ (monastery) which serves as a retreat for devotees, with monk’s quarters, preceptees' lodge and a library.

The temple was originally known as the Nandy Molon Burmese Temple. The structure that stand now was purchased by the temple’s female patron. Nonya Betong from George Layton for $390 Spanish Dollars. The 1st chief was U. Nandamala. The oldest portion of the temple is the stupa which was consecrated in 1805 which is enshrined with an outer stupa which was built in 1838. The temple’s ‘Sima Hall’ is qguarded by two stone elephants and was renovated in 1995 due to the increasing number of devotees. In the past a well was dug for the use by the Burmese community in the surrounding area but after piped water became a thing, the well has been disused.

All around the temple there are statues, paintings and murals of all sizes and colours that adds to the serene feeling this place radiates. Most of the statues are modelled after the different branches of Buddhism from several Buddhist countries. There are also statues of mythical creatues and it holds one of the rarest statue, the Panca Rupa. The Panca Rupa or Guardian Protectors of the World is two winged chimeras which combines features of three animals, the trunk and tusks of an elephant, the body and tail of a fish and the wings of a Garuda, representing the land, sea and air. It is believed that this Chimera guards the world, so the statue shows the chimeras guarding the world in a form of a globe.

The murals and paintings all around the temple delineate the life of Buddha. One of the famous murals is the Renunciation of the Buddha. This mural tells the story of how Buddha renounced his earthly desires for the life of ascetic while demons tried to dissuade him. The newest addition to the temple is the Golden Pagoda Bell Tower which was completed in 2011. The temple also has as Arahant Uppagupta shrine that was originally just a small plank building made in 1840. The new shrine was built in 1978. Buddhists believe that it has the power to overcome all obstacles, problems, fulfilling wishes for exam or sickness or other wishes and exorcising of evil.

The courts of the monastery also have a lovely landscaped garden that gives you peace of mind and tranquility. There is a small fish pond with a nice wooden bridge over it and many plants that complement the calming surroundings. A store that sells cold drinks and ice cream is also available in case you need an escape from the heat. Finally, to complete your visit, you can throw coins in the wishing fortune bowls, and maybe, just maybe, your wish might come true.