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Wong Tai Sin Temple

The temple of Wong Tai Sin lies a couple of kilometres to the west of the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden. It is also just one MTR station away from Diamond Hill (“Wong Tai Sin” station, exit B3) for anyone looking for a quick access option, although frankly, it’s easy enough to walk between them. A and I walked it in about 20 minutes.

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Home to three different religions: Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism – there are distinct differences between them even if they’re often lumped together as “Buddhism” – the Wong Tai Sin Temple complex is large and bustling with worshippers and visitors alike. Apparently, there is an one-way system which visitors are encouraged to follow, and during festival periods, this system is compulsory to keep things in order. Well, since we arrived through “Supreme Paradise Gateway” that was definitely not the main entrance, we explored the complex randomly.

This is *the* temple to be for those who believes in Wong Tai Sin’s ability to “make every wish come true upon request”. Hundreds of worshippers were making offerings and burning joss sticks in front of the main alter while we were there; a worker was continuously clearing away joss sticks to make space for new ones. The demand for fortune telling was also highly visible here, with worshippers participating in “kau chim” and there are some 160 fortune telling stalls in a two-storey Fortune Telling and Oblation Arcade by the temple – serious stuff here, folks!

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Multiple pavilions/halls scattered about the compound, each shrine dedicated to specific deity/deities. One shrine does stood out from the rest, as it lies completely outdoors – that of Yue Lao and his couple of helpers, a man to his left and a woman to his right. (I’ll leave this link which explains well the concept and the practice of praying to Yue Lao.) What is also notable is the amount of red prayer strings tied to the rope of the male side, an indicator that most of the worshippers are female. And no, in case you’re wondering, I did not add another string to the rope.

A good number of the pavilions were closed to public access. For those that we could, we didn’t peek in too closely either, since we were not carrying out any prayer ourselves and it felt awkward to try to jostle our way through to see the decor within etc. Not everyone were so circumspect. If I could make an Euro for every selfish shot and/or selfie taken e.g. someone obliviously stepping in front of a kneeling worshipper and posed to be photographed in front of the main altar…

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple

To the rear of the temple complex lies the Good Wish Garden, a Chinese-style garden meant to be a miniature replica of the Summer Palace in Beijing. Tortoises were swimmingly besides the lotus or sunbathing on the rock sculptures within the pond of the garden. The walkway also linked us to the Nine Dragon Wall, another replica, this time of the mural bearing the same name in Pei Hai Park in the Forbidden City in Beijing.

I found out later on that we’ve missed a secondary worshipping platform, which boasts bronze statues of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, as well as an underground Tai Sui Yuenchen Hall. Although the former sounds interesting to see, the latter appears to be more like a tourist trap (entry fee chargeable, “electronic” worshipping, more fees to drop written prayers in a box, along with LED lights, motion detectors, artificial smoke puffs and whats not) that I don’t think we missed anything out by not looking into it.

All posts in this series:
Hong Kong: What can I do in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong: First impression: Hong Kong
Hong Kong: More dim sum, please
Hong Kong: Postcards: The (Victoria) Peak
Hong Kong: Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden
Hong Kong: Wong Tai Sin Temple
Hong Kong: Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha
Hong Kong: Tai O fishing village
Hong Kong: Postcards: Stanley
Hong Kong: Chinese desserts galore
Hong Kong: Occupy Central with Love and Peace
Hong Kong: Hong Kong by night
Hong Kong: So many markets
Hong Kong: How to gain a few kilos in a week
Hong Kong: Once upon a clear sky in Hong Kong



Category: Asia, Hong Kong, Travel

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2 scribbles & notes

  1. med says:

    I think we did visit this temple but then from the photos, it does look different hahahaha. Hmmm, brain getting old or they must be renovating the place heaps ;)

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