Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang, Malaysia
If Petronas Towers is part of national iconography of Malaysia so is Kek Lok Si Temple, The Temple of Supreme Bliss. While the former is symbol of modern Malaysia, latter is a creation existing and growing since 1890. I mentioned the word ‘growing’ because its construction is continuing there even today. Kek Lok Si Temple is a joint effort of Malay-Chinese community. This is the largest Buddha temple of South-east Asia and is situated in Penang.
(Pic from Beehive Communications)
The manner in which souvenir stalls and food stalls are flourishing at the entrance to the temple, it is a clear indication that this temple is vigorously sought after not just by the worshipers but also by the tourists. Cruising your way through these zillion stalls, a turtle and fish pond is an experience by itself. You have to walk good number of steps lined with shops before you find yourself at the entrance. The crowd gets thinner from here.
The first temple is Chamber of Seated Buddhas, it has three golden Buddhas all smiling. With a small fee you can get to the interiors of the beautiful ‘seven storeys Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas’. This is considered the ‘face’ of Kek Lok Si. The place is worth spending some time exploring it. Each floor has unique Buddha statues. As you climb the floors and reach the top you get a stunning view of Penang from here.
The star attraction of this temple is the 36m tall statue of Goddess of Mercy, a bronze statue. You can take a cable car ride to the top level to see Her. Till some years back She had just the sky as cover, see the picture from Wiki. This view is gone. Today you will find a huge roof over the statue supported by sixteen granite pillars intricately carved with beautiful designs. Some RM40 million was spent to construct this.
A great place to visit independently or with family!