The tiny island of Penang, one of the thirteen states which make up Malaysia, is becoming an important oriental tourist attraction.
SV PAN Street scene with trishaws
CU INTERIOR Buddha (2 shots)
LV EXTERIOR Snake temple with sign and joss sticks (3 shots)
SV PAN INTERIOR FROM Tourists TO Snake wrapped around wooden trellis work
CU The snake
CU PAN Tourist takes photo of snake in shrub
CU Tourist holding snake with another draped over head
CU Lady takes photo of another lady draped in snakes (2 shots)
Initials CL/1710 CL/1725
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Background: The tiny island of Penang, one of the thirteen states which make up Malaysia, is becoming an important oriental tourist attraction.
The island is situated off the north-west peninsula of Malaysia, close to the main travel routes of South East Asia.
There are many places of interest to tourists ... one of the most bizarre is the Snake Temple in Sungai Kluang, where visitors can see snakes known as the Wagler's Pit Vipers. They are given sanctuary because devotees believe they are descendants of a god.
There is considerable controversy about how venomous the snakes are, but generally they are docile and reluctant to bite. They spend most of the time lazing around on the altars, branches and vases in the temple.
According to tradition, the vipers came to the temple of their own accord from nearby mangrove swamps. But it's also thought they may have been attracted by the warmth of burning joss or by the good on the altar.
The temple is also known as the Chor Su Kong Snake Temple, and takes its name after a legendary monk. Tradition says he was a mendicant during the Sung Dynasty, who brought happiness and peace to his district through his power of exorcising malevolent spirits to cure illness.
It's believed that the snakes are most numerous on the birthday of Chor Su Kong.
SYNOPSIS: The tiny island of Penang, in Malaysia ... where tourism is rapidly becoming a major industry. Tourists flock from all parts of the world to ride on the trishaws and experience oriental life at first hand.
One of the most unusual attractions the island has to offer is the Snake Temple in Sungai Kluang. Here the snakes, known as the Wagler's Pit Vipers, are given sanctuary because devotees believe they are descendants of a god. The temple is named after a legendary monk, Chor Su Kong, who is thought to have lived in the Sung Dynasty.
Chor Su Kong is said to have cured illness by exorcising evil spirits. Tradition also says the snakes came of their own accord to the temple. There's considerable argument as to how venomous they are, but generally they are docile and laze around the altars, branches and vases in the temple. For many tourists, the snakes are the ultimate in unusual sightseeing attractions. Some are frightened, but persist for the inevitable photograph for the folks back home.