GEORGE TOWN: The lighting up of the biggest Buddhist temple complex in Southeast Asia, Kek Lok Si Temple in Air Itam, started in a grand manner tonight.
Traditional Chinese lanterns and colourful LED (light emitting diode) lights will illuminate the temple for several days in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebrations.
The 129-year-old temple has been a hive of activity for photographers looking for angles to capture the massive temple lights including the 33.6m high Kuan Yin statue.
A spellbinding display of fireworks lit the skies, seen as a symbol of peace, good luck and prosperity.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng together with temple officials jointly performed the lighting ceremony.
They announced to give contributions of RM100,000 each.
Lim lauded the temple committee's effort for continuing the tradition since 1983.
"I must congratulate Kek Lok Si for continuing this tradition,” he said.
The Kek Lok Si temple hosted a dinner in conjunction with its lighting ceremony, together with special prayers held along with a chanting session for the devotees.
Temple trustee Datuk Steven Ooi said that a lot of work had been put for the annual lighting display which has became a must visit spot for avid photographers.
"The experience is something one cannot simply say in words, it is magical and should not be missed," he said.
The colourful lights will be turned on from Jan 24 to Feb 8 from 7.30pm to midnight, and from 7.30pm to 10pm from Feb 9 to Feb 21.