My Visit To Kek Lok Si Temple In Penang

Posted by : foongpc | Friday, August 15, 2014 | Published in


On my last day in Penang, I visited the Kek Lok Si Temple located on a hillside overlooking Air Itam town in central Penang.

Kek Lok Si, which in Penang Hokkien means 'Temple Of The Supreme Bliss', is the largest Buddhist temple in Penang and possibly in South East Asia. The hills of Air Itam where this temple was built, were reported to possess good feng shui.

I had visited this temple many years ago, but decided to return for another visit this time to see how things have changed.

Since this was my second visit, I did not enter from the entrance at the bottom of the hill which would lead one to walk through all those souvenir stalls to reach the Tortoise Pond. Instead, I took a cab up the hill and entered from the Middle Station going through this grand arch.

 photo P1220778_zps09e85a06.jpg

Unfortunately on that day, access to the the Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas was blocked. It was quite a disappointment as I had wanted to climb up that seven-storey pagoda, a famous landmark in Penang.

 photo P1220776_zpsdc9a2192.jpg

Oh well, there was nothing I could do about it so I decided to take the incline lift to go to the top to visit the giant bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara or Kuan Yin. This incline lift is located on the left side of the Main Prayer Hall. You need to purchase a ticket at the lift station before you can enter the lift.

 photo P1220779_zpsb0de7df5.jpg

There is a big souvenir shop near the incline lift station but I did not buy anything. I forgot how much the ticket cost - probably RM2 or RM3 one way.

This is the incline lift rail. I took this picture inside the lift as it ascended.

 photo P1220782_zps8549956d.jpg

It probably took about 2 - 3 minutes to reach the upper station. Oh look! Do you see a worker doing some cleaning work on the right?

 photo P1220783_zps7cb92a2d.jpg

The view from inside the lift looking down at the lower station. Can you see those celestial animal figures at the roof top?

 photo P1220792_zps9d4c68bd.jpg

Took another picture after I was out of the lift at the upper station. The view of Air Itam town below was really quite beautiful.

 photo P1220796_zps2ed1bb53.jpg

Another shot of the view below from a different spot.

 photo P1220797_zps610a027d.jpg

The inclined lift upper station has a bust of the Kuan Yin (also known as Goddess Of Mercy) statue at the top.

 photo P1220799_zpsb437a536.jpg

This bust was from the old Kuan Yin statue before it was replaced with the new majestic one.

 photo P1220800_zps752310d3.jpg

This is the new Kuan Yin statue which stands at 30.2 metres. It was completed back in the year 2002. But even more astounding is the pavilion that was built after that to shelter the gigantic Kuan Yin statue!

 photo P1220801_zps761e2bf3.jpg

The Kuan Yin Pavilion is 82.7 metres tall, about the height of a 20-storey building. The roof is a three-tier pagoda supported by 16 granite pillars. It was built at a cost of RM40 million (US$12.6 million).

 photo P1220829_zps0903f57f.jpg

Look at those intricate carvings on the granite pillars!

 photo P1220827_zpse946581e.jpg

It's a truly amazing structure!

 photo P1220830_zpsad3cc6a5.jpg

More pictures of the Kuan Yin Pavilion...

 photo P1220802_zpsc7d527fa.jpg

 photo P1220809_zps6a6ce004.jpg

 photo P1220808_zpse3b8794e.jpg

 photo P1220824_zps83b476d9.jpg

The base of the pavilion, with intricate carvings on the wall.

 photo P1220818_zps09db6c80.jpg

A closer shot of the wall's ornate carvings.

 photo P1220819_zps1b0008be.jpg

 photo P1220822_zpse5fca248.jpg

 photo P1220823_zpsf6b78440.jpg

Pretty awesome, no?

A statue of a deity near the Pavilion.

 photo P1220811_zps1b6c4cfb.jpg

Two small monkey statues at the foot of the structure.

 photo P1220821_zpsca00361d.jpg

The bust of the old Kuan Yin statue could be seen in the distance.

 photo P1220812_zpsff86b077.jpg

Another shot of the bust.

 photo P1220813_zps9cb9293c.jpg

Cute bear statues lining here.

 photo P1220815_zps2c32fb60.jpg

 photo P1220814_zps273a079b.jpg

 photo P1220816_zps5a828bff.jpg

Elephants and lions guarding the base of the Kuan Yin Pavilion.

 photo P1220820_zpsb46ba90b.jpg

Not far from the Pavilion is the Zodiac Garden.

 photo P1220833_zps5c5191c3.jpg

There are 12 animals of the Zodiac here but I did not bother to take pictures of each one.

 photo P1220834_zpsa2819279.jpg

There's a gazebo above the koi pond at the Zodiac Garden. In the distance is the Kuan Yin Pavilion.

 photo P1220840_zps6d7c7c22.jpg

It is said that the best time to visit Kek Lok Si Temple is during Chinese New Year when the temple complex is lit up with thousands of lanterns. But since I do not like crowds, it is very unlikely that I will visit during that time of the year!