According to Mahayana Buddhism, Kuan Yin is the Goddess of Mercy and she has sacrificed attaining Nirvana to guide her disciples towards attaining enlightenment. She is a symbol of compassion and purity, and is portrayed in white robes with a string of prayer beads in one hand and a white lotus in the other. She is worshipped by childless women, fisher folk and merchants as it is believed that she can hear the cries of the human world.
The shrine that stands tall and bright upon a hill in the mountainous Koh Phangan terrain, where it was built to serve two purposes is the Kuan Yin Chinese Temple. Legend narrates that a Thai lady was once asked in her dreams by the Goddess Kuan Yin to build a lighthouse on the road to Chaloklum Village to safeguard the fishermen of the area, who take to the waters of Chaloklum Bay. Without any hesitation, the lady had sought advice from a local monk and raised sufficient funds not only to build a lighthouse but an entire shrine as well. Hence, the shrine was erected and dedicated to the Goddess Kuan Yin.
The place of worship consists of three buildings, the main shrine where a breath taking statue of the Goddess of Mercy is placed and the two lower chambers, one of which is used for meditation and sermons and the other as guest rooms. Just outside the main hall is a gigantic Buddha statue that faces the ripples of the Chaloklum Bay and glistens in both sunlight and moonlight. All the structures are ornate and have a clear Chinese influence.
Annually devotees of Kuan Yin call over at the temple with offerings of fruits, flowers and vegetables. This entails many festivities that are arranged readily by the neighbouring fisher folk in tandem with the visitors.
The symbolic holy shrine is a must see if you are holidaying at Koh Phangan hotels, not only due to its awe inspiring location, but also due to its religious value. All Koh Phangan resorts including the fabulous Rasananda Phangan Island Resort & Spa, Thailand are within proximity to the Kuan Yin Temple.