Put Jaw Shrine and Jui Tui Shrine.
Jui Tui Shrine and the Put Jaw Chinese Temple on the intersection of Soi Phuthorn and Ranong road, close to Phuket Town’s big fresh market, which are separated through different entrances and are indeed different shrines all together, are nevertheless basically joined together in one big spiritual compound.
Playing a pivotal role in the annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival which dates back to 1825, the Jui Tui Shrine is one of the oldest and most important spiritual centers on the island. Originally located in Old Phuket Town’s Soi Romanee, it had to be rebuilt at its current place after a fire. It is dedicated to Kiu Wong In, a vegetarian god, and is the most recent and a most ornate Taoist temple in Phuket. The fine carvings of guardians on the teak entrance doors are quite striking.
Though the origins of the festival are unclear, it is commonly believed that the festival was brought to Phuket by a wandering Chinese opera group who fell ill with malaria while performing on the island; keeping a strict vegetarian diet they survived what was a fatal illness in the 19th century. Being grateful they held a festival to celebrate their amazing recovery which was meant to honour the gods as well as express the people’s happiness at surviving this normally fatal illness.
Put Jaw Shrine is the oldest Chinese temple on the island. The original temple was actually built about 200 years ago and underwent a major renovation in 1908. Put Jaw Temple is also known as Kwan Im Teng, as it was built in honour of Kwan Im (Kuan Yin), the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. Thus the main reason for so many locals to come to this temple and seek help when they have health issues.
The temple is also of major importance during the annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival, usually held in October over nine days. The event celebrates the belief of the Chinese community in Phuket that abstinence from meat, alcohol, sex and stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar honors the gods and ensures good health and an elevated state of spirituality for the devotees.