Kek Lok Si Temple
Located in Air Itam, Penang, Kek Lok Si Temple is among the most popular temples on the island. The temple’s name simply translates to mean, ‘The Temple of Supreme Bliss’. This Buddhist temple has a history which dates back to the late 19th century. Deemed as the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia, the temple is home to a famous bronze statue of Avalokitesvara, who is considered to be the Goddess of Compassion. Bell towers and prayer halls with intricately carved columns are also part of this charming religious site.
Visitors will find an array of souvenir shops within its main hall. One of the highlights at this attraction is The Liberation Pond where carp and tortoises live. According to Chinese beliefs, the turtle symbolises endurance, longevity and strength. Perhaps the main attraction at the temple, the imposing seven storey pagoda can be reached by taking the stairway from the site’s courtyard. Showcasing the temple’s embrace of both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, the pagoda has such special features as a Burmese crown, the middle tier of Thai design and a Chinese octagonal base. The unique collections of alabaster and bronze Buddhas will also catch your eye.
The meticulously landscaped gardens and a striking statue of the four heavenly kings also add to the site’s allure. The temple is at its best during the Chinese Lunar New Year when it is transformed into a spectacle to behold, as colourful lanterns lit up the entire vicinity.