Are you planning a visit to Penang, Malaysia? Well you must include the Kek Lok Si (Temple) in your itinerary! Not only is it a must-see site but it also makes for a cool Lomo Location if you're looking for a new spot to experiment with film photography.
Located on a hillside, this temple boasts of a history of more than a hundred years. Its illustrious history, coupled with its magnificent architecture, made it a must-see landmark in Penang.
The first thing that greets tourists are the two most iconic buildings of the temple – the “Ten Thousand Buddha Pagoda”, which incorporates Chinese, Thai, and Myanmese architectural elements, and a 30-meters tall giant bronze statue of the “Goddess of Mercy”. They are so magnificent that they can be seen from afar. There are two roads leading to the temple. One is a normal road that enables one to drive up to the temple. The other is an uphill pedestrian trail. If you are fit and young, I would recommend that you trek uphill. Although it is more tiring, there are small shops along the way. You get to buy some local produce and souvenirs. Also, you can see the temple’s “Mercy Release Pond” containing thousands of turtles.
Within the temple, there are many different Buddha Halls, each containing a solemn Buddha statue and beautiful murals. A lot of beautiful flowers were also planted all over the Temple area. The place exudes a sense of serenity and harmony that is unique to a Buddhist temple. From the temple, one can have a bird’s eye view of the entire city, I wished I had a panoramic camera to capture all the sights at that point in time. What’s also worth mentioning is that the “DaXiongBaoDian” plaque of the main hall is an imperial gift from Emperor GuangXu of the QIng Dynasty, another plaque “HaiTianFoDi” was penned by Empress Dowager CiXi. These relics add color and significance to its heritage.
Up to this day, the temple is still being expanded, thanks to the generosity of local donors. Perhaps in a couple of years’ time, things will look different here. What will stand the test of time though will be its good reputation as a holy Buddhist shrine.