A visit to the Ten thousand Buddhas Monastery
Hong Kong (Read my post on Hong Kong here) has so many attractions that sometimes the deserving ones get left behind. It has many famous Buddhist temples and Monasteries, like Po Lin Monastery, Man Wo Temple, Wong Tai Sin Temple etc.
However, the one which is off the beaten track and highly underrated is the ‘Ten thousand Buddhas Monastery‘ which I find to be an architectural marvel.
This place should definitely be visited because of the stunning display of the thousand of Buddhas statues and other revered Figures, the location which is on a hill and the peace and quite which you can find there.
Reaching the temple
A spur of the moment decision is taken to visit the temple of the Ten thousand Buddhas. Have been here in Hong Kong since quite some time and have been hearing about this a lot. I keep on thinking that I can go any time I want but then keep on postponing it.
Anyway, finally decision taken, I decide to go visit. I live at Tung Chung and hence go to the Futung Plaza Bus stop and take the Bus number E42 going towards Pok Hong Bus Terminus.
After a journey of almost an hour, I get down at Sha Tin Central Bus Terminus. Its a ten minute walk from there. In case you are getting down at Sha Tin station on the East Rail Line of the MTR, take exit B and turn left along the side of the bus terminal.
A short walk down the ramp and you will reach a turn opposite HomeSquare Mall where the huge IKEA store is. Turn left down Pai Tau Street and walk to the end. There is a temple like structure but don’t get confused since it is the cemetery (Po Fook Hill Ancestral Hall).
To the right of the cemetery, next the parking lot, is the way towards the temple. There is a signage too which will show that you are on the right path.
The climb to the temple
First things first. The way to the Ten thousand Buddhas monastery is steep. It has around 431 steps and is an uphill climb. Alongside the stairs, there is a paved way too. The path is lined on both the sides with golden statues of ‘Arhats’ or revered persons similar to saints who have achieved enlightenment. The statues are of individual ‘Arhats‘ and if you look closely enough, you may see the difference. I take some time to reach the top, fascinated as I am with these golden statues.
I find this uphill climb quite mesmerising. I reach the first level.
When I started the climb, the stairs seemed to be unending but now that I reach here, its barely a 20-25 minute climb with some stops in between.
History of the temple
The story behind this temple is also very interesting. Story goes that the work of the monastery (though there are no monks living here!) was started by the Revered Yuet Kai.
The elderly Yuet Kai along with other Buddhists literally carried the bricks and other construction material up the hill and that’s why it is said that Yuet Kai ‘built the monastery”.
The temple was completed in 1957 finally. The temple complex is divided into two floors. The lower floor has a hall, a pagoda, a tower and two pavilions. The upper floor has four halls dedicated to Buddhist Deities.
The temple walls are covered with thousands of figurines of Buddha and that’s why the temple is also known as temple of ten thousand Buddhas. Though the actual number of Buddhas is more than 12500. The name ten thousand actually does not denote ten thousand, rather a big number!
After exploring the first level (there is a souvenir shop too which sells cold drinks etc.), I climb up to the second level. There are prayers rooms here. It is very peaceful and has a nice outward view.
I can see some monkeys goofing around though they don’t really bother anyone. I spend sometime here, just relaxing and enjoying the serene atmosphere.
It is definitely a visit which should be on the agenda on any person visiting Hong Kong.
- Opening time is 9:00 AM and closing time is 5:30 PM.
- In case of thunderstorms or Typhoon Signal 8, the place is kept closed.
- It is important to not miss the way leading to the temple, which many people do.
- Carry enough water and some sunscreen.
- The climb would be difficult for people with mobility issues.