By Asia Samachar Team | MALAYSIA |
The oldest gurdwara structure in Penang has been captured in a sketch by Penang artist Khoo Cheng Jin.
Founded in 1901, it was first named Diamond Jubilee Sikh Temple to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria of Britain. Upon completion, it was the biggest gurdwara in Malaya as well as South East Asia.
Located at No.87, Jalan Gurdwara, formerly known as Brick Kiln Road, Penang, the gurdwara structure is a beautiful strikingmixture of Moorish and modern architectural design.
It was on 3rd June 1901 that Colonel Walker of the Malay States Guides laid the foundation of the Gurdwara, Penang. The Straits Settlement Government of Penang, in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria of Britain, granted the land on which it is built. The foundation stone can be seen in the corner of the building near the “Nishan Sahib” (flagpole).
Not many people know that this historic Gurdwara is one of the three sites in Penang, which commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria. The other two being the clock tower near Fort Cornwallis and the Victoria Green Field of the Chinese Recreation Club in Burma Road. In the corner of the field is a statue of Queen Victoria.
The Sikh Gurdwara, Penang, was also known as the Malaya Tapuan Da Gurdwara (Malayan Territories Gurdwara) and was for many decades a central meeting place for all northern Indians in Siam, Sumatra, Borneo, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Penang was the major transit port for people traveling to and from India and regions of South East Asia. As the travelers faced difficulties in finding a place to stay, the need for a Gurdwara was urgently felt.
The three other gurdwaras on the Penang island are Gurdwara Sahib Bayan Baru, Gurdwara Sahib Khalsa Dharam Jatha and Gurdwara Sahib Police. Gurdwara Sahib Buttwerworth is the other Penang gudwara, located on the mainland of Peninsular Malaysia.
First Gurmukhi road signage for Malaysia (Asia Samachar, 5 May 2020)
Superb kickstart to Penang gurdwara conservation and restoration fundraising (Asia Samachar, 24 Feb 2019)