Saturday, September 17, 2016

Majestic Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy 鹤山观音圣像) via the Incline Lift @ Kek Lok Si Temple [Penang, Malaysia]

We should have exited the temple after the Ten Thousand Buddhas Pagoda as our transport arrangement was till 2pm but we would never had forgiven ourselves for missing the new icon of Kek Lok Si; the gigantic guanyin statue! 

Climbing up to the location would take us ages and it's heartening to know of an incline lift that shall bring us up at a fraction of the original time.

Before then, be prepared to waste more time looking at tables filled with merchandise that were for sale; weird to find Halloween stick figurines in a Buddhist abode.

More items for sale.

Many things would make you curious and you would want to take a closer look. For example, the many rocks on the table that made me wonder if it's a dumping ground for rocks extracted during the drilling phase of construction!

Look at the amount of stuff!! Those tourists fascinated with Asian culture would go crazy rummaging through the little souvenirs that were likely made in China.

The incline elevators don't come free - tickets can be purchased at RM 3.00 one-way with kids from 7 to 12 years old pay half the price.

Waiting for the lift - my suggestion, for those with plenty of time to spare, was to buy one-way ticket to check out the statue and then slowly make your way down on foot. 

It's here! 

Steep slope that reminded me of the Penang Hill tram we took earlier in the morning. On second thought, there's a similarity with roller coaster rides; that terrifying ascent before the drop!

Nearing the statue; as you can see, once we reached the end, the statue was just a few foot steps away! That's really helpful especially if you have elderly parents / grandparents. 

Random picture taken while in the lift.

Upon reaching the top, there's another souvenir shop! In usual circumstances, i would go through their wares as there could be something unique but time wasn't on our side this time! 

14 Buddhist rhymes that we can surely apply in our everyday life; one of the most unforgettable talks about anger and why we should not get angry as we are falling into the provoker's trap and at the same time, harming our health.

Exiting the building and noticed a white plaster Guanyin statue; not sure if it was the same one that was damaged in a fire in the 1990s. 

This towering bronze one was actually built as a replacement to the one damaged in the fire. Now, on the "new" statue - at 30.2 meter tall, it wasn't as tall as the one at Sanya (China) which had a height of 108 metres. However, the pavilion sheltering the bodhisattva is the world's tallest at 60.9 meters. 

As you can see, there was scaffolding and we didn't have the opportunity to step up for a closer look at the intricate designs and artwork. 

Expression of a statue is important to reflect the realism and i must say the sculptor had depicted a solemn-looking bodhisattva who appeared to be in prayer / deep in thought. 

鹤山观音圣像 - the first two characters refer to the hill that the statue resides on; translated to crane hill which was named by Venerable Beow Lean, first abbot of Kek Lok Si.

Bolted doors; unsure where they would lead us to. 

Tentage was set up facing the statue and pious Buddhists can go ahead to stick incense sticks into the long, rectangular urn or lit candles to get your prayers answered. 

Money can also be donated in the way of buying temple roof tiles. Although building Buddhist temples is a merit that would help us when we die, karma is a bitch and i believe there is a weightage for each merit! 

Buying a wishing ribbon is another beautiful way to increase the temple's coffers! My skepticism stopped when i saw that the temple would be building an orphanage and an old folks home; at least devotees would know where the donated money is going to!  

Alm bowls placed in front of porcelain statues of guanyin sitting on Chinese zodiac animals! It was a gimmick although it worked every time to make me look for the zodiac animal of my year; the monkey!

Those unsure of their zodiac animal (possible since birthdays can be rather close to two zodiac animals; for example, the end of rate and the start of pig year) can still make donation at specific alm bowls with well wishes.  

Two bronze luohans were built as guards to protect the guanyin although i believe the lady with her supposedly immeasurable power is more than able to fend off evil.

And why so fit!?!?!? Such display seeks to glorify abs and muscles; both of which i would love to have yet find it so so hard to achieve. 

Scenery once again.

Going back to the elevator again as our engagement with the driver ended at 2pm which was supposed to be the time when we arrived at Bayview Hotel (Georgetown)! At this time, it was already close to 2pm!

A few more photographs of the imposing statue, including the last one which gave you a rough idea of its scale in comparison to parked cars. 

While waiting for the rest to assemble, i took the extra time to explore another section; a pond with a pavilion in the middle! Though in a way similar to the tortoise liberation pond, this was just so much nicer and newer! 

Fake duck on the pond! There was a sign that said "please do not release fish in this pond" and i wonder if it's effective since the amount of fishes was mind boggling! 

Statue from the location of the pond.

Pavilion and statue under the beautifully ornamented three-tiered roof pavilion supported by 16 beams! From this angle, i can also see the lotus seat right underneath the statue. There were supposed to be 100 "smaller" kuan yin statues of about 2 meters but i didn't see any.

Zodiac animals made of stone! 

Prepared our ticket for our journey back via the incline lift! Aside from the sale of ticket, the money collected from merchandise purchased from the shops would also be put into temple development fund.

Going down! 

Design on the side of the building which we didn't notice until we were taking the lift down. I can just imagine having a treasure hunt with hints thrown in from places like the above. 

Narrowness of the aisle; luckily there weren't a lot of people as it would have been darn stuffy. In Singapore, this would have resulted in a number of complaints!

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Location Map
As above.


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