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Postcards: Kek Lok Si (MY)

The Temple of Supreme Bliss, or Kek Lok Si as it is known based on Fujian dialect (the most prominent dialect in Penang) pronounciation, is the most celebrated and largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. Sitting atop the hill and overlooking Ayer Itam, it is said to be auspiciously located and feng shui-approved to protect the well-being of the temple and its devotees.

Constructed in 1893 under the direction of a well-supported head monk of the Kuan Yin Temple i.e. Temple of the Goddess of Mercy, from local consuls to the Chinese Emperor Guangxu, Kek Lok Si incorporates motifs of Buddhism from Burma, Thailand and China – a nod to both major branches of Buddhism: Mahayana and Theravada. (Note: ask most Chinese Buddhist and they’ll have a hard time telling you which branch of Buddhism they are followers of, in part due to the integration of Taoism to muddle up the mix further.)

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

The temple is laid out over several levels, encompassing several prayer halls, bell towers, pagodas including a majestic seven-tiered Pagoda of King Rama VI (or more commonly known as Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas), a bronze statue of the highly revered Goddess of Mercy which stands at 30.2m (just slightly taller than the 30m pagoda), gardens and ponds. The head/shoulder of the former statue of Goddess of Mercy can also be found nearby.

I’ve always enjoy my visit to this magnificent temple and I like the view of Penang afforded from the top of the hill too. Perhaps the only thing I’m not terribly keen on is the “thriving entrepreneurship” in psychologically persuading devotees and visitors to part with their money. So many gift shops with Buddhism-themed objects, the sales of roof slates for the temple, and the latest is the “wishing tree” where ribbons of different colours for different kind of wishes are sold and the buyers try to hang their wishes up as high as possible on what appears to be a wooden stick “tree”. I don’t know what to say of that.



Category: Asia, Malaysia, Travel

Tagged: , , , , ,

4 scribbles & notes

  1. med says:

    lovely pictures and nice weather too…never been up…should make a trip up one day ;)

    • Lil says:

      what? really? you’ve never been? time to get up north my friend ;)
      (and don’t forget to stop for the laksa at the foot of the hill, gnom!)

  2. Chloé says:

    oh i do remember this one :) very nice temple indeed. seems they’ve totally finished the construction work now? i didn’t remember the view over the area was so good though, but i do seem to recall it was quite cloudy when we went there so maybe that’s why… this brings me back a while and makes me want to travel more, hehe.

    • Lil says:

      actually, no, they still haven’t finished with the construction works. i just cleverly not photographed them :p

      and yes, we had a clearer day this time round than when you were visiting. :)

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