Kek Lok Si - Malaysia Bukit Pagar

Kek Lok Si

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Kek Lok Si

The Buddhist temple of Kek Lok Si is situated in (H)Air Itam, a suburb of Georgetown. You can make that by local bus from the Komtar, but you can also make it by taxi. I prefer taxi, because the taxi takes me up the hill (the Kek Lok Si is halfway on a hill). I like to walk down, but not to walk up the hill in a tropical climate.
Taxi ride from the KOmtar in Georgetown will cost you about RM20.-

The temple was begun in 1890 and, from all appearances, construction really hasn't ever stopped. And it's still going on! The temple is supposedly the largest in Malaysia.
The Kek Lok Si project was inspired by the chief monk of the Goddess of Mercy Temple of Pitt Street. With the support of the consular representative of China in Penang, the project received the sanction of the Manchu Emperor Kuang Hsi, who bestowed a tablet and gift of 70,000 volumes of the Imperial Edition of the Buddhist Sutras.

Without doubt the largest and best known temple in Penang, the Temple of Supreme Bliss, better known as Kek Lok Si, staggered on the hillside overlooking the town of Ayer Itam.
Since the olden days, the hills of Ayer Itam are regarded as important geomantically. Known as He San , or Crane Hill, they are recommended as a retreat for Taoist practitioners striving for immortality.


Construction of the temple started in 1893, but it was only in 1930 that the Pagoda of Rama VI, named after the Thai king who laid the foundation stone, but better known as the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddha's, was completed.
This pagoda combines a Chinese octagonal base with a middle tier of Thai design, and a Burmese crown, reflecting the temple's embrace of both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism.

The latest addition to the temple complex is the 30.2m bronze statue of the Avalokitesvara - Goddess of Mercy or Kuan Yin - on the hillside above the pagoda.
This statue was completed and open to the public at the end of 2002.

If you want to get a close-up look of the Kuan Yin statue, then go left as you get to the furthest hall, which is also the largest and look for the signs for the 'incline lift' to the goddess. The incline lift is more of a tram -- an elevator-sized glass box mounted on rails which goes up to the terrace above the existing temple where the goddess stands.
Use of the lift costs RM 2 each way.


Outside the "Main Prayer Hall".
At the right: the entrance to the pagoda

The route up to the 'main' prayer hall of the Kek Lok Si and the pagoda is on the other side of the large prayer hall. From the 'incline lift' you need to cross the hall and go through the souvenir stands to find the desk where you must pay a 'voluntary' donation of another RM 2 to go up to the new prayer hall and the pagoda. Don't worry: you'll receive a ticket!

If you haven't visited the "Goddess of Mercy", then this is the moment to do it now!

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The Kek Lok Si project was mooted by the chief monk of the Goddess of Mercy Temple of Pitt Street. With the support of the consular representative of China in Penang, the project received the sanction of the Manchu Emperor Kuang Hsi, who bestowed a tablet and gift of 70,000 volumes of the Imperial Edition of the Buddhist Sutras.

Construction of the temple started in 1893, but it was only in 1930 that the Pagoda of Rama VI, named after the Thai king who laid the foundation stone, but better known as the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas, was completed. This pagoda combines a Chinese octagonal base with a middle tier of Thai design, and a Burmese crown, reflecting the temple's embrace of both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism

Reputedly the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia, situated close to the bustling Air Hitam market. The temple's enclave including a pagoda and a huge statue of the Goddess Kuan Yin is prominent. Besides the monastery, a seven-storey pagoda of 10,000 Buddha images displays the essence of an eclectic mix of Chinese, Thai and Burmese architecture. The main hall has colourful souvenir shops. A shrine filled with statues and a courtyard where a large pond full of carp and the tortoises are main attractions. Here a pathway that leads to a stairway will take you to the Pagoda.


© 2001 Bukit Pagar Group