The temple worships Tua Pek Kong -- a man from the Hakka clan whose boat got washed up on the shores of Penang while he was on his way to Sumatra.
Details are vague as to why he was conferred deity status, but he is now worshipped by most of the Malaysian Chinese population.
Interestingly, when the temple was first built, it was said to be on the most auspicious spot in Kuching. It had a hill to its back; a smoothly flowing Kuching river at its front and it faced the highest peak around. Unfortunately, that hill has now had a road cut through it and the river (Sungai Kuching) got filled in to make way for a road. Still after 200-odd years, one left out of three ain't bad.