The Kek Lok Si Temple in Penang The Seven Storey Pagoda of Rama Vi Kek Lok Si Temple during Chinese New Year

Weather :

Time Required : 1-2 hours

Timings : 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM every day

Entry Fees : Temple: Free
Pagoda and Elevator: RM 2

Kek Lok Si Temple, Georgetown Overview

Situated on the hilltop at Air Itam near Penang Hill, Kek Lok Si is one of the largest Chinese Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia. Comprising of monasteries, temples, prayer halls, and gardens, the temple complex is a chief pilgrimage centre for Buddhists from Philippines and Singapore.

Kek Lok Si translates as the Temple of serene Bliss from Hokkien. The highlight of the temple is the seven-storey white and gold Pagoda of Rama VI. Other places of interest at Kek Lok Si Temple are millions of magnificent images of Buddha, different sculptures carvings in both interior and exterior and the elevated position of the temple which provides an extraordinary view overlooking George Town and Penang. 

One of the best time to visit Kek Lok Si Temple is during the Chinese New Year festivities.

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Kek Lok Si Temple
Kek Lok Si Temple
Kek Lok Si Temple
Kek Lok Si Temple

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Exploring Kek Lok Si Temple

The Temple can be broadly divided into 3 zones, the Temple ground consists of the turtle liberation pond, food and drinks and souvenir stalls and the hill entrance, the middle section consists of pagoda, temples, gardens and four heavenly kings pavilion and the hilltop consists of an enormous 120 feet bronze statue of Kuan Yin ( Goddess of Mercy ) and more gardens and temples.

Kek Lok Si Temple Architecture

The rich and impressive architecture of the Kok Lok Si Temple includes intricate woodwork, carved pillars and a plethora of lanterns. 
  • The central attraction of the temple is the seven-storey Pagoda of Rama VI, a pagoda of 10,000 bronze statues of Buddhas (Ban Po Thar) which symbolize the harmony between Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism. The top comprises of a Burmese Crown, the middle tiers are made of Thai design and the lower octagonal base is Chinese.
  • The 120 feet bronze statue of Kuan Yin is another attraction of Kek Lok Si temple which is worshipped by women to beget children.
  • Inside the House of the Devas, there are statues of the Four Heavenly King each of which controls a point of the compass. Kwang Mu – Guardian of the West, Chi Kuo – Guardian of the East, Tou Wen – Guardian of the North and Tseg Chang – Guardian of the South.
  • There are gardens, fish ponds and also statues of animals that represent Chinese zodiac.
  • There is also a turtle pond located at the Kek Lok Si temple which is named as The Liberation Pond. According to the Chinese tradition, turtles symbolize long life, endurance and strength and the act of capturing and freeing them is a symbol of spiritual liberation. 
Kek Lok Si Temple Penang
The Seven Storey Pagoda of Rama VI (Source)

Festivals and Celebrations

Kek Lok Si temple acts as a central point for festivals of Chinese communities in Penang. The major festival is the Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) and is celebrated in an elaborate manner. The temple remains open till late for 30 days after the New Year and there is a plethora of lanterns which represent the donations of the devotees and lights which add to the festive decoration.

Long marches undertaken by hundreds of Buddhist monks from Thailand to the temple once or twice a year is another festive feature of the temple.

Kek Lok Si Temple Penang
Kek Lok Si Temple during Chinese New Year (Source)

How to Reach Kek Lok Si Temple

Bus: To reach Kek Lok Si Temple by bus, take the Rapid Penang Bus 201, 203, 204, 206, 306, or U502 to reach the bus stop located near Jalan Pasar.

Car: One can also take a taxi to reach the temple. Parking facility is available.

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