The Buddhist temple, Kek Lok Si Temple, of Air Itam is located in Penang in Malaysia. The temple is located with its front side facing the sea and thus provides a magnificent view. Kek Lok Si Temple is Southeast Asia’s largest Buddhist temple. Buddhist pilgrims from Hong Kong, Phillipines and many other countries come to this temple. During 1890 to 1930, under the inspiration of the Abbot, Beow Lean, the temples were built. The magnificent Pagoda of Rama VI which is seven stories high is the main attraction along with Buddha’s bronze statues. Also present therein is the status of the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin. The Kuan Yin statue is 99 feet high. The architectural works of the temple depicts a blend of traditional Buddhism and Chinese rituals. You will find a lot of shops both outside and inside the temple selling miscellaneous religious articles. Kek Lok Si literally means “Heavenly temple”.
In George Town, below the Air Itam mountain is located the Kek Lok Si temple. The temple is spread over an area of 30 acres. Penang Hill station is only 3 kilometers away from this area. In 1905 the temple’s construction was completed and was sponsored mainly by five Chinese businessmen. The head monk of Mercy temple was the main inspiration behind the establishment of Kek Lok Si temple. You will find a shrine of Guanyin, the deity of Mercy in the main hall. Also present therein are the Goddess of the Earth and Queen of Heaven. You will also find Buddhist and many other shrines of holy saints here.
There is a bog hydraulic bell in the temple area. You will hear its high ringing volume at regular intervals. Wooden and stone constructions are a common sight within the temple. Scrolls, candles and cushions are spread out in front of each God and Goddess. The temple has several halls to assemble and offer your prayers. A collection of hanging lanterns, colorful pillars and some fine wooden work forms the architectural base of the temple. You will also see gardens and fish ponds in the temple area. Often tourists and pilgrims want to make their way further up the hill. There are cable cars which help them do so.
A lot of Chinese festivals are hosted in the temple complex. The most rigorously celebrated is the Chinese New Year. Almost a month from the end of the Chinese New Year festival, the temple is kept open till late night. Bright light decorations all over the temple complex make it a beautiful sight. Twice in a year monks walk all the way from Thailand to this temple and it is marked as a festive. You will get to see the ethnical diversity within the temple area. Worshippers offer their prayers to God in their own way. Some count beads, some offer incense, some donate case while some just bow or clap; the mode if offering might be different but all have the same devotion in their hearts.