The Snake Temple in Penang is most probably the only one of its kind in the world. Dedicated to a healer named Chor Soo Kong who had once been a Buddhist monk, the temple was first built in the year 1873 by a British resident named David Brown who had in turn been cured by the astonishing powers of this extraordinary healer. According to the legends, snakes from the nearby woods had mysteriously appeared at the temple, thereby inhabiting the vicinities from that point onwards.
From a distance, it looks like quite the ordinary temple with its traditional architecture, the serene surroundings, incense burning in the background and the usual paraphernalia that accompanies Buddhist temples. But once inside one notices the main hall filled with incense smoke and if one observes closer, the many venomous snakes wrapped around various items sedately observing the proceedings. Although poisonous, it is said that nobody has been bitten by a snake as of today. Some assume that it is the incense smoke that keeps the snakes paralysed while others are convinced that it is the sacred powers of the temple that renders the snakes harmless. In the middle of the temple one finds the snake pond which is not filled with water but with fruit trees. If one dares to look closely, one can see hundreds of snakes coiled around the tree roots and branches, peacefully enjoying their afternoon naps.
Also known as the “Temple of the Azure Cloud” or the “Pure Cloud Temple”, this magnificent building had been constructed to honour the breathtakingly blue skies of Penang. A 600 pound bell made during the Manchurian Dynasty hangs in the hall and is rung on the 1st and 15th days of each month of the Chinese calendar with the aim of inviting the denizens of heaven and hell to pray. People come from all over the world to worship this deity known for his healing and one can see many devotees lighting incense in the temple and praying for their health. A visit to the temple is well worth the time as the hushed ambience, the overall sense of serenity accompanied by the eccentric view of snakes coiled around various items in the temple is sure to give its visitors a once in a lifetime experience.
Accommodation within the city while visiting the temple would not be an issue since Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang is a Tanjung Bungah hotel Penang located quite nearby to the location. Equipped with all the modern luxuries that a discerning traveller would seek out during a visit, this Penang hotel is known amongst many for the unparalleled comforts that it offers all its guests.