Zheng He Footprint Temple is a small temple which situated in Batu Maung, Bayan Lepas close to the seafront on the southeast tip of the island.
Listen to the locals as they shared with you folklores about this footprint, his great journey and fleets of ships he commands Sam Poh or Admiral Zheng He commands sea journeys all over the Indian Ocean.
For a man in the 15th Century, he visited more than 35 countries, took over 300 ships and 28,000 men in his grand fleet. The largest vessels were the treasure ships, each 444ft in length more than all of Columbus’s command. Sam Poh Tong temple or Footprint Temple as it is known can be found in Perak, Cameron Highlands and Malacca. This small recently built temple with his original footprint is a reminder to us that the Great Sea Admiral passed thru many parts of Malaysia.
For many years, the footprint was neglected, save for an altar and a few joss sticks. However, a new temple was built over it around 1993-1994 at a cost of over RM300, 000 to venerate a "footprint" in the rock. The footprint measures 0.85 meters - a colossal 33 inches.
There were indeed historical accounts that Zheng He was a giant of a man. Much folklore in both our community lays claims to this footprints. Some local Indians said it is the footprint of Hanuman the monkey god who leaps over the Indian Ocean to find Sita.
Local Malays says it is a giant Jin or giantess called Gedembai who casts people who challenge her to stones. It was just one of four Gedembai footprints in Penang, the other ones are behind the Kampung Mesjid in Bayan Lepas, another at Pulau Aman, and one more at Pulau Jerejak. This legendary Muslim eunuch was born in 1371, in the province of Yunnan. He served as a close confidant to the third Emperor of China Yong Le. He was originally named Ma Sanbao. He was taken captive as a young boy in 1381, brought to Nanjing. It was Yong Le who renamed the boy Zheng He. The emperor built Great Wall for China built the new capital Beijing. Being ambitious he appointed Zheng He to lead his fleets to discover the world. Thus his title “Admiral of the Western Seas” was bestowed upon him.
The others story sounds begin that six hundred years ago, Admiral Zheng He left the port at Suzhou and set sail for the Nanyang (southern seas) and discover the world in a mighty fleet of giant ships. Different with Western powers, the Chinese did not mean to take over but rather to ensure the various principalities paid compliment to the Chinese emperor and acknowledge his dominion over the lands. Zheng He made several journeys between 1405 and 1433, and there is great possibility that Parameswara met him when he stopped at Malacca, as documented in the History of Malacca in AsiaExplorers.