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Beautiful Kek Lok Si Temple

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Today I present a travelogue and shots of Kek Lok Si Temple taken during the 2012 Chinese New Year season. It has become a tradition for me to photograph Kek Lok Si once every few year. I have been doing this for the past ten years, and have had the opportunity to capture the temple as it progressively expands.

This year, my wife and I visited Kek Lok Si on 25 January 2012. We began at the Air Itam Market, where we chanced upon a New Year Day lion dance sponsored by DAP, the local political party.

Kek Lok Si TempleKek Lok Si Temple (25 January 2012)


From the Air Itam Market, we climbed the steps into Kek Lok Si, stopping once to photograph the entrance arch and Kong Ming Chinese Public School First Branch School, both donated by the late philantropist brothers of Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par.

As it has been for decades, the traditional route towards Kek Lok Si Temple is lined with hawkers selling souvenirs, trinkets, clothes, prayer items, religious icons (Buddhist as well as Taoist and even Catholic), and other stuff.

Kek Lok Si TempleKek Lok Si Temple (25 January 2012)


The steps leads towards the tortoise pond. As usual the water was murky and the pond appeared overcrowded. I do not know whether this is how the tortoise want it, or do they prefer clear, pristine water. Someone better informed on the tortoise habitat would be able to explain.

Immediately after the tortoise pond, there is an ongoing reconstruction being carried out on the concrete arch bridges. At the time of my visit, the place was littered with construction material. The arch bridges lead to the mid-level car park and shopping arcade. This is one of the many temple shops selling religious paraphernalia, talismans and souvenirs where the proceeds are directly channeled to the temple building fund.

Kek Lok Si TempleKek Lok Si Temple (25 January 2012)


Beyond the mid-level shop is a courtyard with a 7-storey pagoda and a circular pavilion with a seated Buddha. Steps lead all around the courtyard towards the next level, the main entrance to Kek Lok Si Temple. From here, you can get one of the best shots of the Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas.

Entering Kek Lok Si Temple
There are a number of pavilions and shrines that form Kek Lok Si Temple. The first is a three-storey pavilion surrounded by a cloister of standing Buddhas. Two of the three levels are open to visitors. They house Buddhas on lotus thrones.

The next temple building houses the Laughing Buddha, a rotund depiction of the Maitreya Buddha or Budai, flanked by colossal guardians. This leads to one of the main prayer halls of Kek Lok Si, with gilded images of Buddha behind glass.

Kek Lok Si TempleKek Lok Si Temple (25 January 2012)


One side of the way leads to the Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas, while another to the Kuan Yin Pavilion.

There are two inclined lifts going from the bottom station to the top station. The journey takes about 2 minutes and costs RM2 each way. At the time of my visit in 2012, there are still scaffoldings at the Kuan Yin Statue, as apparently the painting of the murals have not been completed, not is the ceiling. This is a bit surprising, as the pavilion has been completed a couple of years already. Perhaps it is regarded as auspicious to allow part of the pavilion to remain incomplete, I can only speculate.

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