Hiang Thian Siang Ti (or Xuantian Shangdi, 玄天上帝) is the deity of the north, widely revered among Teochew people. Tradition holds that the temple, commonly called Lao Ya Keng (老爷宫) by the Teochew, predates 1844 and originally stood on Soon Hong Street (now the Main Bazaar). The temple moved to its present location in 1863. It was devastated in the Great Fire of 1884 and rebuilt in 1889.
Initially, several Teochew street-based associations formed the Ngee Ann Kiun Committee (义安郡司事) to manage the temple. The duty later fell to Soon Hong Kongsi (顺丰公司), which in 1914 became a registered society that represented the Teochew. Its name was changed in 1933 to Teo Kiaw Association and again in 1938 to Kuching Teochew Association.
The century-old temple is one of Old Kuching’s main attractions. The feast day of the deity, which falls on the 4th day of the 12th lunar month, is an annual cultural event that draws large crowds and fills the streets with rippling flags and percussive din.
More information: www.kuchingteochew.com/