Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang, Malaysia

The Kek Lok Si Temple (‘Temple of Supreme Bliss’ or ‘Temple of Sukhavati’) is a Buddhist temple situated in Air Itam in Penang and is said to be the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. It is also an important pilgrimage centre for Buddhists from Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and other countries in Southeast Asia. This entire complex of temples was built over a period from 1890 to 1930.

The construction of the temple began in 1890 and was completed in 1905. It was inspired by Beow Lean, the chief monk of the Goddess of Mercy Temple at Pitt Street in 1887. He had served earlier in the Kushan Abbey in Fujian in China. The site chosen by Beow, a spiritual location in the hills of Ayer Itam facing the sea, was named ‘Crane Mountain’.

Beow Lean was the first Abbot of the temple. The buildings of the temple complex were sponsored by five leading Chinese business people of Penang known as ‘Hakka tycoons’.

In 1930, the seven storey main pagoda of the temple or the Pagoda of ‘Ban Po Thar’, the 10.000 Buddhas, a 30 metres high structure, was completed. This pagoda combines a Chinese octagonal base with a middle tier of Thai design, and a Burmese crown (spiral dome) reflecting the temple’s amalgam of both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism.

In 2002, a 30.2 metre bronze statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, was completed and opened to the public. The bronze statue is located on the hillside above the pagoda. The statue is complemented with a 60.9 metre three-tiered roof pavilion which was completed in 2009. It is the tallest Guanyin statue in the world.

Kek Lok Si Temple is located at the foot of the Air Itam mountain in George Town on Penang. It is built on an area of 12.1 hectares that was donated by Yeoh Siew Beow. The temple complex is known for it’s many small shops which you just can’t avoid.

Here are some photos of the visit to the temple.

Click on a miniature-photo to enlarge it, then navigate using the arrows left/right of the photo or use the cursor keys on your keyboard.