Pagoda Avalokiteswara, Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia

This pagoda was erected in 2005, it has 7 storeys. This pagoda is dominated with statue of Kwan Im goddess that it is also called as Kwan Im Pagoda.

This pagoda is located in Semarang city and known as the highest pagoda in Indonesia. From the pagoda, visitors can see nice view, beside enjoying the Chinese architecture of the pagoda. As the large population of Indonesian Chinese in Semarang, the community built numerous religious buildings in town, such as Sam Po Kong Temple and Avalokitesvara Pagoda.

The pagoda building is 50 meters high from the ground level on  a land covering 2.25 hectares, one of the biggest in South East Asia and the highest in Indonesia. This magnificent building stands out, especially at night when it is decorated with lights. This pagoda has been the Buddhism education center. Avalokitesvara was erected to honor Dewi Kwan Im, known as the most respected and the merciful goddess by Chinese. Other name of this pagoda is Metakaruna, derives from meta means love and karuna means kindness, so Metakaruna means loving kindness. There is big Kwan Im statue in front of the plants, this statue faces Semarang city as symbol that she showers love to Semarang dweller.

The first floor of the pagoda which has 3 different Kwan Im statuary. Kwan Im figure with lotus in her hand is for visitors who wish for mates can pray before this statue. For couples who want to have children can pray at the other statue of she carries babies. And the third statue is for pilgrims who wants to have long life.

The decoration and architecture is typical of Chinese design . The main structure is octagon, dragon decorations dominate the building from lamps, roof, fountain, pillars, stairs. Other animals also can be seen here such as phoenix statuary and lion-like animals. Inside the main room, there is a huge Buddha statue, and few statuary god and goddesses of Chinese encircle the room.

This pagoda carries out several annual  ceremonies, such as Maghapuja (March), where thousand of Monks pray to Buddha, Vesak (May), the Buddha birthday, Ashada (July) to commemorate the day when Buddha taught 5 disciplines and Khatina (October) when monks meditate and study Buddhist in the temple. Chinese festivities are also held here, such as birthday of goddess of mercy, when she acheived enlightment and went to nirvana, celebrated every 19th of the 2nd, 6th and 9th month.

There is a local legend about the pagoda built here. Long, long time ago, the founder of Semarang meditated on a sacred hill. In 1957, a Buddhist monk from Ambarawa, Joko Suprapto meditated at the same site. In his meditation, he got vision that a shrine should be constructed on a hill. In 1965, then a small vihara was built. Later in 2005, built bigger vihara to accommodate Buddhist of different sects in Indonesia, Pagoda Avalokitesvara.