Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hau Wong Temple, Tung Chung

This blog is piggy-backing off of my Tung Chung Fort post…because our trip to the fort wasn't as spectacular as I had thought it was going to be.  We actually spent the rest of the afternoon chasing the TOURIST signs* around Tung Chung.  

*Chasing TOURIST signs refers to reading the street signs and seeing what cool spots they lead to.

My eyes were opened up to some pretty awesome villages that are around the Tung Chung area.  I actually thought that the majority of Tung Chung were high rise apartment buildings and public housing.  So, finding these little villages, which are in walking distance of the Tung Chung Fort was pretty amazing.

There seemed to be a lot of signs pointing to different locations.  The Lo Hon Monastery was the spot that evaded us…but, we did venture over to the Ngau Au Village, around San Tau and to the Hau Wong Temple.

The Hau Wong Temple is a Lantau tourist attraction (which doesn't get as much traffic as the Big Buddha or the Po Lin Monastery).  It was built in honor of Hau Wong, who was one of the Song Dynasty's most loyal generals of Emperor Qianlong.

How to get to the Hau Wong Temple:
1.  From Tung Chung MTR Exit B, catch bus 38 from the bus barn

2.  Get off at the Yat Tung Estate stop

3.  Walk along Yu Tong Road

NOTE:  Online says that it takes about 10 minutes.  These directions are from online…as we just stumbled upon this temple by accident!!!!  I would also suggest looking out for the HAU WONG TEMPLE sign!

Fun Fact:  Within this little Temple resides a bell that is engraved with the date of the 30th year of Emperor Qianlong's reign, which is around the year 1765.  Because of this engraving, the temple is also thought to have been built in 1765.

The temple is quite small and a handful of patrons were visiting it whilst we were there.  Like many of Hong Kong's temples, it's still a functioning temple, so being respectful is probably the way to go!  Also, I would ask the caretakers if it is all right to take photos (just in case).  Some buddhist temples that I have been to, in the New Territories, have signs posted that they do not allow photography.

***A view of the outside of the Hau Wong Temple***

This temple is so well maintained, which makes me think that it is regularly visited by the locals in the area.  It also sits alongside a park area, where kids can play soccer or tag.  I can imagine grandparents come out here to pray whilst their grandkiddies kick soccer balls around.  Quite a multi-functional space!

Anyhow, it is quite well maintained, which is so lovely to see, as this temple was just something we found while trying to find interesting things to see in Tung Chung.

***A view of the inside of the Hau Wong Temple***

Referring to the photograph above, I was reading on someone's blog awhile ago that the paintings on the doors were guardians or protectors of the temple.  This reminded me of our visit to Kyoto's temples, well…the buddhist temple in particular.  Those temples had two guardians in the form of sculptures at the gateway to the temples.  One had a closed mouth and one had an open mouth.  Those guardians would protect the temple from evil spirits and keep the temples free of any thieves.

I like the idea that a sculpture or a painting could give the secure feeling that a lock on my front door can give me.  Interesting!

My friend said that the base of these incense coils had wishes adhered to them.  Some wishes were for a good marriage, some for good health, and some for future wealth and prosperity.

Besides visiting the Hau Wong Temple, we also spent the afternoon wandering around the villages.

***Views of Tung Chung's Road Less Traveled***

We came across this beautiful banyan tree that was rooting all over the place.  It reminded me so much of Hawaii!  We used to swing on the banyan tree roots in Ala Moana park…but, going back recently, my brother told me that people are restricted from doing that anymore.  I get it.  Respect the land, right!

Along our walk, we passed a huge span of construction or industrial space.  I'm not really sure what the land was being used for, but there was a beautiful little stream running through all of that.  A lovely little find!

We also found a jackfruit just hanging out on a fence!  Reminded me of Malaysia!  My husband and I went to a fruit farm there and one of the stops on the tour was to take photos with a jackfruit.  It wasn't any ole jackfruit…this one had a leaf for a nose, was wearing a straw hat, and was chilling on a branch with sunglasses on.  That was totally an inventive photo op for tourists who like taking photos!  

So, even though we set out expecting to spend half a day exploring the Tung Chung Fort and realizing that it would take an hour or so to view, we still found quite a bit of interesting things around Tung Chung.  It's always nice to take a wander around somewhere and find some interesting things.

Hopefully, this blog inspires some of you to just get out, take a walk, and stumble into some amazing things!