The Kek Lok Si Temple is also known as ‘Temple of Sukhavati’ or ‘Temple of Supreme Bliss’. The temple stands proudly since 1891, which is situated in the island of Penang, Malaysia. The shrine is considered as one of the largest and finest temples in Southeast Asia. It is also the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia, with millions of Buddha images, beautiful carving, murals and sculptures. The shrine is adorned with beautiful artwork in the interior and exteriors of temple halls, archways and pagodas.
About the Shrine
The Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang is significant temple for Buddhist pilgrims residing in South Asia, the Philippines and Singapore. The entire temple was constructed over a period of 1890 until 1930. The prime point of the temple is its striking seven-story Pagoda of Rama VI. It has around 10,000 bronze statues of Buddha and tall statue of Kuan Yin of 99-feet.
The temple is built with blend of Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism and traditional Chinese rituals. The temple is flooded with daily activities of worshippers. The temple literally means Pure Land Temple and Heavenly Temple.
It is located at the foot of Air Itam in George Town, Penang Island. The shrine is constructed over a plot of 12.1 hectares which was donated by Yeoh Siew Beow. Visitors enter this temple as they ascend through a stairway, its roof provides shelter to a multitude of shops selling souvenirs. The visitors pass by a pond which is called ‘Liberation Pond’, turtles are released into freedom with limitations of course!
The shrine has several large prayer halls, statues of Buddha and Chinese Gods. The architectural features which uplift the temple are carved pillars, superior woodwork, and a plethora of lanterns, flower gardens, fish ponds and so.
Several Chinese festivals are celebrated on a grand scale. The Chinese New Year is one of impressive festival, which is celebrated for 30-days and temple remains open until late night with thousands of lights sparkling into the sea. The temple is decorated with thousands of lanterns which are donated by devotees.
The Temple reflects a diverse ethnic origin of Buddhist devotees. Devotees worship by counting prayer beads, burning incense or cash offerings. Highly learned people offer prayers at the tower of Sacred Books, while few people also offer prayer in gardens in the precincts of the temple complex.
There is a cable car for pilgrims to reach the uphill area of the shrine. There is also a fish pond on an elevated platform with the statue of Kuan Yin, also known as the Goddess of Mercy. The Goddess of Mercy is worshipped by women and children. The nuns and monks, who reside in the monastery, are in charge of maintenance and handling of shrine. The temple is considered as a spiritual treat to gain salvation.