Light on! Kek Lok Si to shine as usual I

Eye candy: A kaleidoscope of colours at the lit-up Kek Lok Si Temple in this file picture from last year.

GEORGE TOWN: The iconic Kek Lok Si temple will be lighted up for Chinese New Year once again despite talk that the tradition would be called off starting this year.

The temple grounds in Ayer Itam will be transformed into a “fairyland of lights” from Feb 11 till March 15 with a display of beautiful LED and neon lights and some 20,000 Chinese lanterns, to mark the festive period.

Former temple abbot Datuk Seri Ven Seck Jit Heng said the celebration had grown bigger over the years, with the cost estimated at RM800,000 this year.

“It’s not easy to manage the process as we have to involve many workers and temple staff for the preparation.

“We are glad that the state government has agreed to help with the celebration,” he said during a press conference organised by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng at Komtar yesterday.

In January last year, temple abbot Ven Xian Guan was reported as saying that he wished to stop the glowing tradition, which has been carried out for some 40 years.

He said the work involved was extensive and stressful, adding that preparations had to be done three months before Chinese New Year. He said they did not want to pass the burden to the younger monks, who should devote more time to religious matters.

At the press conference, Lim handed over a RM100,000 contribution from the state government to Ven Jit Heng.

From Feb 11 till March 15, the hillside temple will shine with tens of thousands of LED, neon lights and traditional Chinese lanterns.

On Chinese New Year’s Eve on Feb 15, the 125-year-old monastery will be illuminated all the way up to the 33.6m-tall Kuan Yin statue and pavilion. From Feb 11 till March 2, the temple will be open to the public from 8.30am until midnight, and till 10pm from March 3 to 15. Usual opening hours are from 8.30am to 5.30pm.

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