Each year in the month of May a very special day marks the calendar of Malaysia and this day is observed as a public holiday…No, it’s not Labour Day but Wesak Day. Over the years I having been enjoying Wesak Day purely as a holiday and shame to say never made any effort to visit temples and take part in the festival – the most important day for the Buddhist community.

Wesak Day marks the Birth, Enlightenment and Death of Buddha. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the fourth lunar month. Devotees throng the temples throughout the country to pay homage to the Enlightened One.

Yes, I’ve been to Buddhist temples – Dhammikarama Burmese Buddhist Temple where the sleeping Buddha resides and the remarkable Kek Lok Si Temple with Pagoda in Penang but never on a Wesak Day.

So, this year my friend Jeremy and I visited two of the popular Buddhist Temples around Kuala Lumpur on Wesak Day – Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple in Petaling Jaya and the Buddhist Maha Vihara located in Little India Brickfields.

Our first stop was the Chetawan Temple in Petaling Jaya. Its location is just a short distance away from Taman Jaya LRT (Light Rail Transit) Station along Jalan Pantai, Off Jalan Gasing – appx. 10min on foot. I arrived at the station from Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station earlier than Jeremy who drove there from home. As I was waiting, I spotted Malaysia’s first Drive-In Fast Food Restaurant – I remember as a kind I had spent some time there drinking the best root beer in town with my dad.

Nostalgic...the place marked is the Chetawan Temple

Nostalgic…the place marked is the Chetawan Temple

Jeremy arrived and we walked to the temple which was located amidst residential houses. The sight was to behold as the temple decorated with gold paint was so beautiful. Intricately designed in Thailand Buddhist architecture style, this huge temple amazingly stands out of its surrounding. Now by 9am, temple ground was filled with devotees paying their alms to Buddha. The scene was relatively quiet but progressing with many rites by the devotees.

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The place is divided into the main temple, a smaller one just opposite the main and at the corner is a small Wat for safekeeping donations (in the form of smaller Buddha statues) from devotees. An eye-catching moment for us was the placing of alms by devotees in small pots lined up in a semi-circle. Notes changed into bags of coins at a readily available counter and believers place one coin in each pot and strike a bell as they progress along the line. This is repeated until the final pot where all the balance coins emptied in it. It is believed this act brings good luck.

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The respect to the place by the devotees was amazing. I truly enjoyed the peace and calm ambiance amongst the people in the temple ground 🙂 We walked to the back of the temple before heading to the main shrine which required us to climb up a fleet of stairs. At the back is the dining area where morning breakfast was generously served – all vegetarian food. Some of the food was donated and some were sold. They were fresh and tasty looking but we opt not to have our breakfast there as the queue was long. Further back was the kitchen and I spotted volunteers cooking rice to be served for lunch and some ladies preparing dishes.

Rice Tower! ..the dangling lead  comes on top on the rice stack

Rice Tower! ..the dangling metal cover comes on top of the rice stack

Refreshing little pond

Refreshing little pond

Buddha Game anyone...sadly no more $1coin in circulation :(

Buddha Game anyone…sadly no more $1coin in circulation 😦

One interesting fact of this place as I clearly noticed at the kitchen (the ladies working were all Thais) is the temple was built for the small Thai community in the area. It is said King of Thailand even donated a sum for the construction of the temple. Interesting!

Thai Architecture Design

Thai Architecture Design

Symbol of Thai

Symbol of Thai

popular photo geek's subject...smoke!

popular photographer’s subject…smoke!

The main shrine was full of activities. Bathing of Buddha was one of the main ceremonies of the day – it reminds Buddhists of the need to purify the mind from greed, lead noble lives and practice morality and kindness. Statues of Buddha accepting donations in a straight line was a favourite subject of the many photographers thronged that morning – including photo seekers like myself and Jeremy.

Bathing of Buddha

Bathing of Buddha

elderly couple paying alms..

elderly couple paying alms..

young couple..

young couple..

Buddha's line

Buddha’s line

Then inside main building, devotees were deep in prayer and paid offering to the temple monks. Many offering were present such as flowers, joss-sticks and for the monks the holy robes and food while accepting blessings.  Buddhism highlights that just as flowers wither and die and joss sticks burns away, so too life – temporary. Shoes not allowed inside the main shrine.


flowers offered


the statues covered in “gold leaf”


joss stick..greetings


joss sticks


oil lamp offering

There were also many oil lamps which will be lighted with a little donation. It signifies Buddha’s enlightenment. At the gate exiting the temple, we noted there we peddlers with caged birds to be released for a sum to symbolize giving freedom and release from past sins.



love the designs..

love the designs..

As we exited the beautiful place, we were hungry and headed for a drink at A&W nearby after tirelessly capturing 45minutes of religious scenes. We headed to Brickfields after lunch to the Buddhist Maha Vihara which I’ll cover in my next posting. Cheers!