Kek Lok Si Temple Penang - the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia

Monday 1 February 2010

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Kek Lok Si Temple Penang
The Kek Lok Si or ‘The temple of bliss’ is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia.

Kek Lok Si Temple Penang

The Kek Lok Si or ‘The temple of bliss’ is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia.
The construction work of the temple building started in 1890 and continuous to this day.
This tells us a lot about the scale of the work being done. It is situated in Air Itam, a suburb of George Town facing a hill. The Kek Lok Si project was envisioned by the chief monk of the Goddess of Mercy Temple of Pitt Street.
Later with the help of a Chinese ambassador to Malaysia, the vision was brought into existence.
The Manchu Emperor Kuang Hsi, bestowed a tablet and gift of 70,000 volumes of the Imperial Edition of the Buddhist Sutras.

History of Kek Lok Si Temple Penang

The temple has a long well-documented history; as of recent development in 2002 a 30.2m bronze statue of the Kuan Yin was completed and opened to public. The work really continues! And why not? The temple receives huge amounts in donation from the rich Chinese community in Malaysia who worship there and are very much particular about their culture and civilization. The future plans of the temple includes: to create an ornate shelter for the Kuan Yin statue. 16 carved dragon pillars are being built; the concentric roof will be inspired by classical Ming architecture, reminiscent of the roof of Prayer Hall for Good Harvest in the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

A Spiritual Experience
Like other temples in Malaysia, visitors at Kek Lok Si use the stairs to reach the temple. As you take the stairs you’ll find multitudes of shops selling souvenirs and other - mostly secular - commodities. Then comes the ‘Liberation’ and have to adhere to the Buddhist tradition of releasing a tortoise.

The temple itself consists of several large halls for assembly and prayer, here, statues of Buddha, various Bodhisattva’s as well as Chinese gods are being venerated. Intricate woodwork, often brightly painted and a plethora of lanterns add to the visual impression.

There is an inclined lift to carry pilgrims and visitors further uphill. On the elevated platform, you can find a pond filled with Koi and the towering statue of Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy, which can also be regarded as Avalokitheshvara, Bodhisattva of Universal Compassion.

How to go to Kek Lok Si Temple?

The Temple is situated in Air Itam, a suburb of Georgetown. You can board a local bus from Komtar, or take a taxi. It is advised that you hire a taxi, because it will take you up the hill (the Kek Lok Si is halfway on a hill). Taxi ride from the Komtar in Georgetown will cost you about RM 20.

When should one visit?
It is generally said that the best time to visit Kek Lok Si Temple is during the Chinese New Year, since during this time the temple remains the center for multitude of festivals and events, for 30 days following Chinese New Year, the temple remains open until late at night and thousands of lights turn the whole place into a sea of light.

Visiting Hours
Kek Lok Si temple visiting hour are from 9 am to 6 pm.

Source Penang Malaysia

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