Article Preview

Title: The Goddess of Mercy or Kuan Yin
Location: Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang, Malaysia
Date: 23 November 2008, 10.28am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/8.6, ISO Equiv.: 100

In this picture, you can see the large-sized statue of Kuan Yin on top of a temple. The structure of the roof is simply amazing!

Title: The Goddess of Mercy or Kuan Yin
Location: Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang, Malaysia
Date: 23 November 2008, 10.28am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/9.0, ISO Equiv.: 100

A gigantic stone carving of Kuan Yin. This statue is positioned on top of an unused temple. An interesting choice of colour - blue hair and eyebrows.

Title: The Elephant's Body
Location: Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang, Malaysia
Date: 23 November 2008, 10.38am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/8.0, ISO Equiv.: 100
This is one of my favourite picture. I zoom in my lens to capture the carvings on the elephant's body. Another piece of art! These sculptures are located beneath the Kuan Yin bronze statue. On that day, I even wanted to climb up the elephant :)

Title: The Elephant's Head
Location: Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang, Malaysia
Date: 23 November 2008, 10.37am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/9.0, ISO Equiv.: 100

A close-up picture of an elephant sculpture. The blue sky is visible on top of the picture.

Title: The Lion's Head
Location: Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang, Malaysia
Date: 23 November 2008, 10.45am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/76.3, ISO Equiv.: 100

It was a damn hot morning when I captured this picture. I was sweating profusely and my skin was 'burning'. I spent one hour walking all over the temple and its surrounding at the hilltop. This picture above shows the head of a fierce lion guarding the hilltop. Visible on the left of the picture is advanced construction works to build a 16 carved dragon pillars shelter for the 30.2m bronze statue of the Avalokitesvara - Goddess of Mercy or Kuan Yin.
Title: The Lion's Carving
Location: Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang, Malaysia
Date: 23 November 2008, 10.41am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/7.1, ISO Equiv.: 100

This is a close-up shot of a Lion's sculpture at the hilltop. These sculptures are carved from a granite stone. It's an amazing work of art. I LOVE the wavy hair-like structure depicted in this picture.
Title: The Inclined Lift
Location: Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang, Malaysia
Date: 23 November 2008, 11.23am
Camera: Nikon D60 with Aperture: f/5.6, ISO Equiv.: 100

This picture was taken when I was boarding the Malaysia's first inclined lift to the hilltop. I was holding my Nikon D60 camera with one hand and another hand gripping the metal support. A 3 - 4 minutes ride up to the hilltop temple.

I went to Kek Lok Si Temple on Day 2 of my Penang trip. The place is also known in Penang Hokkien as Temple of Supreme Bliss [极乐寺]. I woke up early on that day - around 7.00 am and took a refreshing bath.

The day before, I booked a 2D 1N stay at Golden Plaza Hostel located at Lebuh Chulia (next to Kapitan cafe). I got myself a one bed room with a single fan and shared bathroom. The room is facing the main road and next to a mamak cafe. I paid RM25 per night to stay there. It is not the best budget stay in my life because the surrounding area is quite noisy - the hostel is facing the main road and next to a cafe which is operating till the wee hours of the morning. Nonetheless, I have to say I am satisfy with my stay over there. The Indian boss and his family who owns the place try their best to accommodate my needs.

I took my breakfast at Kapitan cafe. I ordered a plate of nasi lemak and glass of hot milo. The nasi lemak look delicious and presentable. Unfortunately, the gravy is way too sweet for me. The fried anchovies in the nasi lemak is not crunchy but soft and hard to swallow - wasted RM4.

At around 8.30am, I boarded Mr. Lee's 'taxi sapu' or unlicensed taxi. 'Taxi sapu' in Malaysia are any type of motor vehicles that travel without running on meter. I was introduced to this old man by a putu kacang seller at Lebuh Chulia bus stop. Moving around in Penang using metered taxi can be an expensive affair.

There are lots of buses plying Georgetown and its vicinity. Unfortunately, first timer to Penang will need more time to familiarise themselves with the system. Sadly, little effort are being taken to advertise their services and coverage to the public. Most of the time, people are not too sure with these buses even though the integrated services was introduced more than a year. I spoken to a local Malay lady and she herself is not too sure about the buses and its routes.

Kek Lok Si temple is located at Air Itam in Penang. The place is a 20 - 30 minutes drive from Lebuh Chulia. My 'driver' Mr Lee is very helpful in identifying tourist attraction along the way. Once I arrived at the base of Kek Lok Si temple, Mr. Lee asked me to wait for him at a local Chinese cafe three hours later. I can see a medium-sized wet market with lots of Chinese traders selling local products such as veggies, meat and clothes.

I compiled some historical facts and figures about Kek Lok Si temple:

Founded more than 100 years ago by benevolence Beow Lean, a devout Buddhist from Fujian province, the temple was once given the name of "Huock San" (Crane hill) due to the hills resemblance of crane spreading its wings.

Impressed by Beow Lean deep devotion of the teaching of Buddhism, the trustee of Kuan Yin Teng (Goddess of Mercy Temple) in Pitt Street, offered him the position of Chief Monk in which he gladly accepted and at the same time he has been nominated as the first abbot of kek lok si.

Kek Lok Si Temple even received an imperial sanction Manchu Emperor Kwang Xi, who bestowed a tablet and gift of 70,000 volumes of the Imperial Edition of the Buddhist Sutras and some others relics that still exist today. A hand written scripts and calligraphy by His Majesty Emperor Kuang Xi and Empress Cixi of the Ching Dynasty has also been presented to the temple. As of today, these priceless heritage relics still exist in the temple archives.

In 1930, the seven storey main pagoda of the temple or 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.

In 2002, a 30.2m bronze statue of the Kuan Yin was completed and opened to public. The statue is located on the hillside above the pagoda.

The current focus is to create an ornate shelter for the Kuan Yin statue. 16 carved dragon pillars are being built, the concentric roof will be inspired by classical Ming architecture, reminiscent of the roof of Prayer Hall for Good Harvest in the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

I will continue my reviews and travelogue about Kek Lok Si Temple on Part 2 and Part 3.

Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang - Getting Here:

Depending on your location, you can take Rapid Penang Bus U201, U203, U204, U206, T306 and U502. Check the Rapid Penang Bus Route for details, map and time table The most convenient bus stop is located along Jalan Pasar, at the foothills of the temple. Jalan Pasar is a one-way street. Walk following the traffic flow until you reach a T-junction. You can see Kek Lok Si towering to the left side. Turn left and walk in its direction.

More info:


Kek Lok Si Temple Location (Google Maps):

View Penang: Kek Lok Si Temple in a larger map


Related Posts with Thumbnails
My Photo
Traveling & photography are the most rewarding & enriching experiences in my life. Photography is all about discovery, enjoying myself, having adventure, learning people & nature. The greatest experience for me is the connection I felt with NATURE. If you haven’t seen Malaysia, you haven’t seen the world! My photography works are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.
View my complete profile