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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
The view from inside the lift looking down at the lower station. Can you see those celestial animal figures at the roof top?
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.
Another shot of the view below from a different spot.
The inclined lift upper station has a bust of the Kuan Yin (also known as Goddess Of Mercy) statue at the top.
This bust was from the old Kuan Yin statue before it was replaced with the new majestic one.
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!
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).
Look at those intricate carvings on the granite pillars!
It's a truly amazing structure!
More pictures of the Kuan Yin Pavilion...
The base of the pavilion, with intricate carvings on the wall.
A closer shot of the wall's ornate carvings.
Pretty awesome, no?
A statue of a deity near the Pavilion.
Two small monkey statues at the foot of the structure.
The bust of the old Kuan Yin statue could be seen in the distance.
Another shot of the bust.
Cute bear statues lining here.
Elephants and lions guarding the base of the Kuan Yin Pavilion.
Not far from the Pavilion is the Zodiac Garden.
There are 12 animals of the Zodiac here but I did not bother to take pictures of each one.
There's a gazebo above the koi pond at the Zodiac Garden. In the distance is the Kuan Yin Pavilion.
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!