Thursday, August 16, 2012

Guan Yin Temple - KL's Hidden Gem

Last April, while in transit in KL, I challenged myself to find new places to visit in the capital. This of course was a dilemma simply because in the last 5 years or so, I have visited this urban jungle so many times, I have lost count. Only my passport stamps bear witness. But I didn't want this transit to be less eventful or dour. But people like me get my inspirations from mundane things. This one, I actually got from my frequent commutes between KL Sentral and Imbi or Bukit Bintang. KL's skyline is simply a rich resource for such undertaking. Yes, it was time I get to see some temples in this muslim-dominated city. I mentally took note of the Maharajalella area because I "think" I saw some temples conglomerate therein.

I took the monorail from KL Sentral - a steal at just 1.60 ringgit ($0.32) for its two stops. If you come from Chinatown, it's a mere 10 minute walk from the frenzy of Petaling Street (KL's Chinatown). The monorail stair leads to the side entrance of a small, albeit quiet temple perched on a hill. The name is a tongue twister - Wei Zhen Gong Guan Yin Si! It's a mostly deserted temple dedicated to Guan Yin (Kuan Yin), the Buddhist Goddess of mercy revered by the Chinese faithful. Its patrons are mostly the Hokkien community.

Built in the late 19th century, Guan Yin is draped by light yellow walls, further accentuated by pink gates and red pillars. The tables inside are likewise draped in pink. There are 3 altars  with their corresponding golden Buddhas; the right one is interestingly surrounded by more than a dozen arms. Curiously, a couple of concrete-made safe is seen inside this prayer hall. What were they for? Do they contain money? 

Outside the hallway, red lanterns beautifully adorn the facade. They gently glide while the gentle winds that reach over the hills blow through the premises. The stair that leads down the pink entrance takes you to a busy thoroughfare, Petaling Street probably, but most of this bustle is left at the foot of the stairs of the hill. The temple is a beacon of peace, rightfully referred to as a "hidden gem" in KL. Just across this compound is another, more lavish temple, but I prefer the subtlety - and the desolation of Guan Yin. 

The temple is open for visitors daily from 7 AM to 5 PM, free of charge.

This is the Eye in the Sky!  

Side entrance gate straight from the Maharajalella Monorail train station.

Joss sticks at an altar in front of the temple.


Main altar

Right side altar (see Buddha below)

Left side altar

Notice the circular pink-and-gold Christmas tree-like structure. On closer look, there are small Buddha images in each small cavern (below). 

Entrance from the outside

The facade of the temple from the busy street down below.


R.Ramakrishnan said...

Very beautiful temple with exquisite golden Buddhas and lovely red hanging lamps.

eye in the sky said...


It's actually a small and simple one, but I love it for being that exactly. More temples are lavish and colorful than this one, but I like its simplicity and how very few people roam the grounds. :)