The temple site was founded since the era of Dutch Malacca by the Chinese Kapitan of Tay Kie Ki @ Tay Hong Yong in 1645. Additional structures was then constructed in 1673 under the led of Kapitan Li Wei King @ Koon Chang with materials imported from China. The temple served as the main place of worship for the local Hoklo (Hokkien) community. Kapitan Chan Ki Lock construct a main hall for the temple in 1704. In 1801, the temple structures was renovated under the led of Kapitan Chua Su Cheong @ Tok Ping who is the father of Choa Chong Long, the first Kapitan of Singapore, with the addition of additional structures.
In 1962, then abbot Seck Kim Seng ordained Houn Jiyu-Kennett, a Zen nun from England and the future founder of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, at this temple. The temple was awarded a UNESCO award for outstanding architectural restoration in 2003.
The temple is situated close to Jalan Tukang Emas, also known as "Harmony Street" because of its proximity to the Kampung Kling Mosque and Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple, covering an area of 4,600 m2. Featuring a magnificent main gate along Jalan Tokong, the temple consists of a complex of several prayer halls with a large main prayer hall dedicated to the goddess of mercy, Guan Yin. Additional smaller prayer quarters were added later. One of these is dedicated to the Buddhist gods of wealth, longevity and propagation, while another houses ancestral tablets. One of the main features of the temple is the seven-metre red flag-pole facing the left wing of the main prayer hall, which houses the remains of two of the three Kapitans who contributed to the construction of the temple. Across the road is a traditional opera theatre which forms a part of the temple complex. The building conforms to the principles of feng shui where the complex is laid out to ensure a view of the river and high ground on either side.
According to wikipedia