Kek Lok Tong is the preferred option for Ipoh's numerous splendid cave temples due to its spacious parking, airy feel and aesthetically pleasing garden landscape. Chinese pronunciation of Kek Lok Tong (sometimes spelt as Kek Look Tong) means Cavern of Ultimate Bliss(or Great Happiness).
To be more exact translation of Kek Lok Tong, 极乐洞 (Pinyin = Ji Le Dong) mean that it is a happy cave, 极 = extreme, 乐 = happy, 洞 = cave / hole.
After some confusing left and right turn or requiring a lot of zig-zagging through residential backstreets, we just going round in circles and found a few other cars doing the same thing. I suspect there are many new housing project which probably may have alter our direction towards our destination.
My friend suggest stop using GPS as opposed to instead of it use the popular navigation app Waze.
The place is a bit odd quite isolated, hidden deep within the residential area on the reverse side of Gunung Rapat. It is not that easy to find, we had trouble locating it.
A Good Samaritan shows us the way to the temple and even refuses to accept tips from us. He rides his motorcycle to lead us in the right direction and we finally arrived at Kek Lok Tong's car park.
God bless you, my good man.
| You can't help it but remnant of the monumental gate lend that awesome feeling, make you feel like you’re in Jurassic Park against a breathtaking scenic limestone hill backdrop.|
|God’s Approval of His Temple.|
Don't believe me, JUST WATCH the Approval Thumbs Up (Facebook Like Icon?) on top of the hill!!
The term sauwastika (or sauvastika) is sometimes used to distinguish the left-facing from the right-facing swastika symbol .The swastika symbol (卐) is a cross with four arms of equal length with the ends of each arm bent at right angle in right facing form.
How the world loved the swastika - until Hitler stole it. The symbol misused by Hitler is the mirror image of the Buddhist swastika left facing form (卍).
The stairs from the car park are actually on the rear side of the cave. Next to the car park is a statue of Kuan Yin and a pond with turtles.
|I don't suppose this landscape is to represent the structure of old Penang Bridge? |
What a hasty effort?
There are statues and miniature artworks landscape displayed on both sides of the stairs leading to the entrance of the cave temple. There must be some sort of competition previously. Some of the mini landscape that looks neglected and project a bad image, it need to be upgrade.
|My Mom need to take a stair up to match my sister height|
|It doesn't look much like Merlion statue, which is Singapore mythical icon creature |
with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. Its more likely this is how it will look like if Merlion Was Old ?
|Would someone care to tell me what exactly we have here? A wishing rock?|
|Like Mother, Like Daughter|
History of Kek Lok Tong
The cave temple sits on a 12 acre site and was used as early as 1920 as a place of worship. In 1960, the cave became part of an iron mining site operated by the late Mr. Chooi Ah Kee. The mining operation used excavators to enlarge the cave entrance to allow lorry access through the cave to transport loads laden with iron ore. Mr. Chooi started clean-up of a small prayer section of the cave, originally named 'Tien Hou Gong'.
In 1982, 'Tien Hou Gong' was handed over by the son of Mr. Chooi to a non-profit charitable organization, Kek Look Seah and the name of the cave temple was renamed 'Kek Look Tong'. The committee of Kek Look Seah took over the development of the cave by enlarging the cave, as well as reclaiming the swampy area near the rear entrance using soil and earth from a nearby hillock. The floor of the cave has been resurfaced and then paved into a flat surface while parts of the rough cave wall are lined with marble tiling. The impressive stalactites and stalagmite formations however were left alone untouched.
The cave complex comprises a central altar featuring a number of Buddhist figures as well as various deities of the Chinese pantheon.Surrounded by stunning stalactites and stalagmite formations, the cave provides a peaceful prayer site for Buddhist devotees and general enjoyment for the public.
|The Three Pure Ones (Chinese: 三清; pinyin: Sānqīng) are the three highest Taoist deities|
Also known as the Three Purities are the Taoist Trinity, the three highest Gods in the Taoist pantheon. They are regarded as pure manifestation of the Tao and the origin of all sentient being. Each of the Three Pure Ones represents both a deity and a heaven. Yuanshi tianzun rules the first heaven, Yu-Qing, which is found in the Jade Mountain. The entrance to this heaven is named the Golden Door. "He is the source of all truth, as the sun is the source of all light". Lingbao Tianzun rules over the heaven of Shang-Qing. Daode Tianzun rules over the heaven of Tai-Qing. The Three Pure Ones are often depicted as thrones elders.
|The main entrance.The ceiling is super way up high there.|
It’s really cooling, peaceful and serene inside the cave. Feels like light breezes and strong gusts moving out through the cave. This is due to the cold cave air sets and flows out the two entrances of the cave, an open and unrestricted flow of air.
|The cave is divided into three parts: lower main chamber, elevated rear chamber and a garden.|
After stumble upon an unusual natural shape of the cave that resembles a the shape of a carp, renovations methods have been carefully planned to figure out how to use the theme.
|I can't quite see it myself! Well, I don't quite get it.|
This is how committee of Kek Look Seah finalize their carp theme:
1. The front entrance of the cave is compare to the head of the dragon carp, its mouth open to the heavens. Interestingly in the past, this is the front entrance to the cave.
2. The stairs leading downwards to the rear cave entrance symbolizes the throat of the carp, the cavernous back entrance the belly of the fish.
3. There are even gill-like limestone formations on both sides of the "head" and a curious evergreen hanging rock formation, covered with moss, at the hind cavern that resembles the gallbladder
4. Lastly the pronged flight of stairs that descent unto the car park and pond was specifically design to resemble the tail of a carp.
|There were some spotlights set up shining on the stalactites and stalagmites, shines a golden light, which casts its golden glow over all the area. A column is calcite deposit typically created when a stalagmite and stalactite join.|
|Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Birdman!|
Ipoh city has a lot to offer with its natural limestone arts. The formation of the stalagmites and the stalactites in the cavern are unique to any limestone hill. Stalactites, the most well known formations, hangs like an icicle from the ceiling, are usually carrot-shaped, and are the consequences of billions of droplets of calcite-bearing water.
The stalagmites on the other hand are the mirror opposites of Stalactites; they grow up, not down. Stalagmites generally are shorter and thicker because the falling water droplets tend to splash and spread out as the Stalagmites gradually build up from the floor of the cave.
The formation of these colorful arts by dripping of mineral-rich water from the roof has taken place since 400 million years ago. They take a long time for slow stalactite and stalagmite growth .
So we must be extra careful not to disturb or damage the natural heritage that took millions of years to develop.
|Looks like Jabba the Hut from Star Wars got a taste of his own medicine: where Han Solo was once encased and frozen in metal, Jabba the Hut is now stuck in Stalagmite.|
Perhaps he is squatting beside the platform to keep his guard up in case Luke Skywalker should be among the tourists.
Don't worry folks, this place is secured by many Gods. I have a friend who is a spirit medium. Once she enter the place, like Spiderman my friend 'Spider Sense' is tingling. That may sound like a silly ... and she has the gift to feel the presence,see and hear God's voice.
|Samantabhadra, in Mahayana Buddhism, the bodhisattva (“buddha-to-be”) representing kindness or happiness. Usually rides on a six-tusked white elephant.|
|Vairocana Buddha sitting cross-legged on the eight-square lotus|
|"Manjushri" Bodhisattva (also spelled Manjusri) is often depicted as riding on a blue lion, or sitting on the skin of a lion. This represents the use of wisdom|
|Wei Tuo Pú-sà (bodhisattva Skanda) is recognized as one of the eight divine protectors in Chinese Buddhism. Iconographically, he appears as a majestic general in his armor.|
|Maitreya Bodhisattva/ Smilling Buddha/The future Buddha got the best seat in the house.|
Maitri meaning caring or "loving-kindness".
The statue of Buddha sits overlooking the back entrance and enjoy the view below.
More surprise await for you at a hidden valley at the back which looks like Shangri-La, a mystical and harmonious valley when you view it for the first time. The First Glimpse Takes Your Breathe Away.
Take a step back in time to dig deeper into the Twilight Zone and enjoy the most scenic view among other caves in Ipoh complete with two ponds, one of which is a lotus pond and you can walk on a long stretch of footpath or a reflexology path.
|The once unspoiled beauty of "Garden of Eden" now in ruined. First by the ugly looking power cable tower on the left while the white factory ahead quarrying has destroyed picturesque surrounding of limestone hill.|
Hold your horses! Your first view we have of Adam and Eve in Paradise. Man has Satan disguises himself as a serpent and convinces Eve to eat the fruit of ... Because they have disobeyed God, they are cast out of Paradise. ... Paradise Lost .
Not exactly that but we have the option to preserve our national beauty heritage site but somehow we choose to ignore it.
Shangri-La Lake Garden Paradise View Gone. Why are there no effort by the Malaysian Nature Society in the attempt to conserve the natural beauty of the country? Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow. Is like your hair loss part that is gradually becoming wider and one day nearly half of your hair is already gone!
Nevertheless I am sure there must be some kind of protests or have done petitions but as usual it falls on deaf ears of the relevant authorities.
A world of surreal beauty awaits, you may heard of talk of lotus flowers on the lakes but they have now gone. When lotus flower season hits in June, the Kek Look Tong Lake area becomes awash with the blooms, which hold particular significance. The lotus flower represents one symbol of fortune in Buddhism. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower’s first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.
The second meaning, which is related to the first is purification. It resembles the purifying of the spirit which is born into murkiness. The third meaning refers to faithfulness. Those who are working to rise above the muddy waters will need to be faithful followers.
|Please don't feed the monkeys ... Monkeys are not starving The monkeys in our wild places have lots of natural food available to them.|
After the lime hill are being cleared, the wild monkeys are forced evictions from their home. Be careful if you bring your children along! Don't bring food along, monkey will try to grab your food. Try not to provoke the monkey and try not to make rapid movements that may frighten the monkey or using flash when taking pictures.
Open Daily 7am - 7pm.
Entrance is FREE but there is a donation booth if you would like to leave a contribution towards upkeep. The place is kept reasonably clean and tidy except perhaps their toilets need to be typically cleaned at regular intervals several times a day
GPS Location N 04°33.510'
We're happy that the communities of the temple has done a good job. It's safe to say the temple is in a good hands, protecting the temple and preserving the cave rock formation for future generations to enjoy.
|Signs should be bigger and visible to visitors along the main road.|
|Just before you pass the Mosque, making the right turn.|