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Today we will visit Malaysia’s largest Buddhist temple Kek Lok Si, also known as the “Temple of Supreme Bliss”. The temple is the largest and most colourful temple not only in Malaysia but also in Southeast Asia! Therefore, in the recent years it has become one of the top visited attractions in Penang for travellers and pilgrims from all around the world!
The majestic Kek Lok Si temple is located on the hillside terraces of Penang, 8km away from the centre of George Town. Due to the fact that Penang has the strongest and most influential Chinese community in Malaysia, Kek Lok Si is nowadays the cornerstone of the Buddhist community in the country and Southeast Asia as well. And there is no doubt – the Buddhist temple is a visual delight for all its visitors and a MUST VISIT place when travelling to Malaysia!
The History of Kek Lok Si Temple
The History of Kek Lok Si temple is very closely related to Penang’s history as a whole. At the beginning of its existence, the temple was named after the “crane spreading” alike shape of the hill it was built on: “Huock San” or “Crane Hill”. The sacred Buddhist complex and symbol of Penang’s Chinese community and culture was built between the years of 1890 and 1905 by Beow Lean, who was a devout immigrant Chinese Buddhist from Fujian province. Beow Lean brought not only the existence of Kek Lok Si, but also the Buddhist tradition to Penang, Malaysia!
According to Beow Lean, the hill of Penang and the Air Itam village has the perfect feng-sui requirement for building a Buddhist monastery. Therefore, his project “Kek Lok Si” had to be located on the top of the hill in order to keep an eye on George Town! The complex was completed between the years of 1890 and 1905, and since then is a Buddhist complex of various monasteries, prayer halls, temples and beautiful gardens.
The 3 Main Sections of Kek Lok Si Temple
The complex is divided into three zones:
Temple ground – The entrance to the temple complex, souvenir shops, food and drinks, and the liberation Pond which full of turtles (According to Chinese tradition, turtles symbolize longevity, strength and endurance. On the other hand the act of capturing and freeing a turtle is a symbol of spiritual liberation)
Middle Section – Many temples and gardens, the main pagoda, the Hall of the Devas
Hilltop – The beautiful statue of Kuan Yin (Goddess of Mercy), gardens, the lake pavilion, a fish Pond and other temples. Don’t forget the scenic view of the Garden Palliation of Lord Buddha, the whole complex of Kek Lok Si and Penang.
Kek Lok Si temple is the greatest heritage centre of Chinese culture in Malaysia! There are more than millions of unique Buddha images and sculptures located pretty everywhere in each section of the complex! Beautiful gardens, lakes, prayer halls, thousands of beautiful and meaningful carvings – Kek Lok Si is a place not only for Buddha teaching but also for every person in love with architectural perfection and esthetics!
9.00 am to 6.00 pm, daily
Visiting Kek Lok Si temple is free but the entrance fees to the Pagoda is RM 2.00. The lift that will take you to the statue of Kuan Yin costs RM 4.00 both ways.
The architectural wonder of Kek Lok Si has been identified as one of the largest, finest and most colourful temple complexes in Southeast Asia. It attracts thousands of prayers and other visitors every year and is mainly built with their kind donations! The temple plays an important role for the Chinese Culture and Buddhist teaching in Malaysia and is opened for every visitor who wants to gain a better understanding and knowledge of Buddhist teaching and practice paths!
Have you been to Penang? What is your absolute favourite Temple you have visited? Curious to read about it!
Enjoy the day!
Continue reading this series:
The Perhentian Islands Travel Guide ~ Malaysia