Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hong Kong: Tian Tan Buddha

When we had finished lunch, we stepped outside to find no rain.  We felt like we had won the weather lottery.  Well aware that the rain could start again any minute, we got right to seeing the sights.  

The main temple of Po Lin Monastery was beautiful.  Surrounded by trees and flowers, it rose upwards towards the cloudy skies.  Red and gold, the Chinese colors for happiness and prosperity, adorned almost everything inside the temple.  The sounds of chanting monks floated through the air as we wandered about soaking in the beauty.  (I am sure the chanting was either a pre-recording or from a microphone, but despite this it still provided lovely ambience.) 

From the stairs of the temple we could see the Buddha: our next destination.

We walked over to the base of the enormous Buddha.  Just barely two decades old, this is the largest seated outdoor Buddha statue in the world.  It was magnificent.  Perched upon its plinth which rests at the top of a staggering staircase, it maintains a commanding position amidst the mountains of Lantau Island. 

A small museum is inside the Buddha.  We were able to read about the history surrounding the Buddha and see many beautiful articles linked to its creation. (Pictures were not allowed inside.)

When we had had our fill of the magnificence, we made our way back to the small “village” of Ngong Ping.  (It’s really just a street full of tourist related stores and attractions, not an actual village.)  We stopped to see the small production called, “Walking with Buddha.”  Though somewhat clichéd in its presentation, it did provide some interesting information on the origins of Buddhism. 

We happened to be passing by a tea shop right as they were offering a free tea ceremony demonstration.  We stopped in to have a cup.  It was delicious, though not quite as fascinating as the tea class we would attend the following week. 

Before catching the ropeway back down to the train station, we had some delicious lychee gelato.  Lychee is a ubiquitous fruit in Hong Kong.  We found lychee flavored sweets everywhere during our stay, which is nothing to complain about-they are delicious! 


As we began the journey descending the mountain, it began to rain heavily again.  We could not believe our luck!
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