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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hong Kong Walks of Life: Temples, Shrines & Monasteries


There are around 600 temples, shrines, churches and monasteries scattered around Hong Kong that represents the many religions that are present in this island with Buddhism and Taoism having the most number of faithfuls. During my first day in Hong Kong I found a 'walking tour' map of Hong Kong showing places of interests around certain MTR stations that can easily be reached through walking.

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Inside Nan Lian Garden
During my second day in Hong Kong I followed one trail leading up to 7 temples, shrines and a monastery by hopping on the MTR station nearest to where I stayed at (the $50/night lodging house) Tsuen Wan. From Tsuen Wan station-also the start of the red line, I bought a ticket to Admiralty station where I got off to transfer to a connecting train going the Chai Wan route then alighting out of Shau Kei Wan Station.

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Shin Wong Temple
Exiting the gate C of Shau Kei Wan MTR station I turned left into Kam Wa Street where I passed by a small tram terminus and beside it, the small Shing Wong Temple is located. This temple was built in 1877 and an outer wall expansion was added in 1974. This temple houses Deities Ng Tung, Shing Wong and Tu Di Gong and is popular among the nearby Taoists residents.

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Tin Hau Temple
A few walks after I came across Tin Hau Temple - one of the approximately 70 temples all over Hong Kong that was erected in honor of Tin Hau. This temple was built to honor the Goddess of the Sea and other lesser known deities in 1876. An intricate design adorned the rooftops of this temple as well as a pair of stone lions that shows well preserved wood carvings and murals.

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Tim Hau Temple
Yuk Wong Temple is situated at the Kung Ngam Village Road - a mere 7 minutes walk from the Tin Hau Temple. It was built in the mid 19th century in honor of Yuk Wong, a deity in Chinese mythology who was credited for solving the country's flood problems thus saving the lives of many people. It was the smallest temple in the area and now exists in the middle of a row of residential and commercial spaces.

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Tam Kung Temple
Walking a few more steps and then entering a small subway to cross to another street, I located the Tam Kung Temple. Standing for more than 100 years with its last renovation being done in 2002. This temple honors a lesser known deity named Tam Kung, who was also a patron of the fishermen.

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Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tsai Sin Temple
After completing the Shau Kei Wan trail. I went back again to the MTR station then bought a single journey ticket to Diamond Hill. Nearby Diamond Hill, lies a 35,000 square meter Tang dynasty influenced garden and inside are the scenic Lotus and Blue Pond as well as the temple of Chi Lin Nunnery (see first photo). I spent almost an hour and a half inside and promises to blog about this separately. Meanwhile, after my stop at Nan Lian Garden i proceeded to the next station called Wong Tai Sin, where I get off and went to Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple. This temple was built in honor of Wong Tai Seen, to whom accordingly to legend, "makes every wish comes true upon request" The temple is home to three separate religions namely Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism.
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Continuing my walkathon, I went back to Wong Tai Tin station to take another train going in to Lok Fu station which was 1 station away. Upon exiting the Exit B of Lok Fu Station I followed the signs leading to Hau Wong Temple, finally after 20 minutes under the blistering heat I reached the temple which was built in 1730 in the midst of the Qing Dynasty and according to legends, was erected to commemorate a Chinese General who led the evacuation to safety a group of people led by the last Song Emperor from the Kowloon led armies.

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Just across the street from Hau Wong Temple is the Kowloon Walled City Park. It is a historic representation of the original Kowloon Walled City - the only place in Hong Kong which was excluded from British jurisdiction during the period when Hong Kong was still a part of the British colony. Among other things found in this park are the: Garden of the Chinese Zodiac, Kuixing Pavilion, Garden of Four Seasons, Mountain View Pavilion, Eight Floral Walks, Guibi Rock to cite a few. 

After this I went on to the Kowloon City Food District along Carpenter road where one can indulge in local cuisines from a row of 10 streets filled with family-run eateries. (this part of my trip will be included soon in my "Hong Kong Walks of Life Series")

Lantau Island

On Monday - my fifth and last day in Hong Kong I visited the island of Lantau since my flight back to Manila is on the later part of the evening giving me another whole day of exploration opportunities. I rode a bus filled with tourists from Australia who took the Brisbane to Hong Kong flights. In Lantau I visited the big Buddha at Ngong Ping - an 85 feet bronze Tian Tan Buddha statue. Located near it is the Po Lin Monastery - a Buddhist monastery built by three visiting monks from the Chinese province of Jiangsu.

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The Big Buddha in the background
The monastery's main temple displays the Buddha in three separate phases, the past, present and his future lives. Since I bought a $35 HK daylong bus ticket I made the most of it by going to Tai-O by taking another bus from Ngong Ping. Tai-O is a fishing village known for its simple setting in complete contrast with the bustling activity in the main Hong Kong region. There are a number of historical buildings and temples at Tai-O and I visited some of it especially the temples found close to each other during my short pit stop there.

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Another Tin Hau Temple
This is another temple built in honor of Tin Hau located at Kat Hing Back Street in Tai-O in front of which is a small park near a bunch of "pang-uks" a kind of stilt houses built on the waters of Tai-O. There are still a few small temples located in Tai-O like the Hung Shing Temple, Kwan Tai Temple and the Yeung Hau Temple. 

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It will take many days to visit each temples, shrines and monasteries found all over Hong Kong but this part of my trip wherein I focused on some of these places of worships by Taoists, Buddhists and even Confucionists have provided me another view of the culture of the people living in Hong Kong. It was a great long walk around greater parts of Hong Kong for four full days and these are just some of the things I've seen and gear up for more Hong Kong Walks of Life series in the coming days.



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This is the second part of my Hong Kong series.

1. The Arrival: Flagged by the HK Immigration

13 comments:

lakwatsera de primera said...

Hope you didn't experience temple overload :) looking forward to your Lantau Island post, ang tagal ko nang gustong pumunta sa Lantau.

Markyramone said...

@Hi Claire - I almost converted to Buddhism hehe. Miss you - have fun in the outdoor country of Australia

thepinaysolobackpacker said...

marky! kakaiba tong HK post mu! never heard yung mga temples at garden! very intersting! love it!

Joel Aldor said...

Aba, "visita templo"! Nice post, Marky! :)

SunnyToast said...

wow...feel like I'm also traveling with your post....nice pics:)

virgo itinerary said...

aliw sa wong tai sin,meron silang way of fortune telling that involves shaking of bamboo sticks.

Markyramone said...

@Gael - onga eh parang in the middle of the towering skyscrapers there's this Nan Lian Garden with a beautiful temple inside.

@Joel - lol at the "visita templo"

@Sunny - thanks, try it when you find yourself in HK

@Virgo - yeah I saw that, didn't tried it im afraid to find out about my future haha

Kat said...

i love Nan Lian Garden :)

tina said...

Wow! I missed the Big Buddha! :D

When I was in HK, the only temple we have visited is the one at Lantau, other than that wala na. Hehe, shopping and pasyal overload kc ;D

Markyramone said...

@Kat - yeah sarap mg relax lng dun, spend half of the afternoon in that place.

@Tina - try to do different next time in HK, ako naman next time try ko visit Disneyland na haha

pandelicious said...

I love how cleanly they integrated the traditional religious architecture with modernization. I wish we can catch on with that trend with Catholicism. Did you come back more faithful? :D

Cute photos and the self portrait pic!!! :D

Markyramone said...

@Carrie aka Lauren - I came back badder and wilder. Lets hang out again :)

Thanks, self portrait are uncool but I have to do it haha

kill3rfill3r said...

nice post..parang ung temple lang din sa Lantau napuntahan ko dyan sa HK.

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