After going to a few Tao temples in Macau, I had started believing that they all look the same. And then I saw this one - Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong and that changed my belief. Of course, Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple is not just a Tao temple, but also a Buddhist and a Confucian place of worship. Oh did I say worship, well a lot more than just worship happens here. Its like a shopping mall of religion, where both devotees and tourists get treated to a spectacle of faith, fortune-telling, superstition, and even some recreation. I wonder why this temple does not top the lists of must see places in Hong Kong because it should. The popularity of Wong Tai Sin temple is mostly due to the belief that it makes every wish come true upon request. I would believe all that but after spending an hour in and around the temple, I was no longer sure if anyone there really believed in the temple's powers. In this page I have given information on what to do and see in the temple and also how to get there. Keep reading...
|Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple Hong Kong|
The stunningly beautiful Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin temple is open everyday from 7.00am to 5.30pm and entry is free. So even if one does not care about the faith, this place should not be missed during any vacation in Hong Kong. The new building of the temple was inaugurated by the then Governor of Hong Kong Sir Murray Maclehose on 28th September 1973. Subsequent to that, additions, refurbishments, etc. have continued.
The Main Altar
|The Main Altar of Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple Hong Kong|
The Main Altar was built in 1921 for the worship of Master Wong Tai Sin, the monk of yore who was born in the 4th century. In 1915 a Taoist priest Liang Ren-an brought a portrait of Wong Tai Sin from Guangdong China to Hong Kong which is now housed in this Altar. The Altar was reconstructed during 1969-1973, repaired in 2003 and later refurbished during 2008-10. Wooden paintings and scriptures of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism are hanged on the walls of the Altar as decoration. The guardian deity, King of the Monkeys, is enshrined on the left of the Altar. Outside the Altar, a pair of bronze Forbidden City lion replicas, a huge stone sculpture of 'qilin dao', and a pair of bronze 'crane-tortoise' are placed.
The Three Saints Hall
|The Three Saints Hall Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple Hong Kong|
The Three Saints Hall is for the worship of three deities - Guan Di (God of War and Righteousness), Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy who is also known as Ci Hang Zhen Ren in Taoism) and Fuyoudijun (Lu Zu). The hall was previously named Yu Hua Hall and was built in 1935. Later, renovations/refurbishments have been carried out here in 1946, 1996, and 2009.
The Confucian Hall
|The Confucian Hall Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple Hong Kong|
The Confucian Hall is for the worship of Confucius and his 72 followers. This hall was opened in 1982.
The Good Wish Garden
|The Good Wish Garden Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple Hong Kong|
The Good Wish Garden at the back of the temple is open daily from 9.00am to 5.00pm. This beautiful garden has streams and ponds of water with beautiful Koi fish, flowers, plants, trees including bonsai trees, pavilions, bridges, and more. Do spend some time here.
The Fortune Telling
This part of the life at Wong Tai Sin Temple is a big contradiction. On the one hand there is the faith that all wishes will come true and on the other hand there are hundreds of fortune tellers housed in an adjoining building called 'Fortune Tellers Arcade' to give hope and good news to the 'believers'.
The Fortune Telling Process
|Sticks in Bamboo Container Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple Hong Kong|
One is supposed to borrow a bamboo container that has several numbered sticks in it. It is available free of charge at a counter opposite the Main Altar.
|Shaking the Bamboo Container at Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple Hong Kong|
Hold the container, sit on your knees in front of the Main Altar and gently shake the container until a stick falls out of the container. Memorize the number on the stick and return the bamboo container along with the stick that fell out.
|Fortune Tellers Arcade Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple Hong Kong|
Head to the Fortune Tellers Arcade, choose a fortune teller and ask for your personal future reading based on the number on the stick that fell out. English speaking fortune tellers also are available here. Go knock yourself out.
How to Get There
Go to Wong Tai Sin MTR Station, and head out from Exit B. There are many sign boards leading you towards the temple which is located right next to the MTR Station. There is a lot more to see and experience in the temple but I am not able to publish so many pictures in one post. Just don't miss it.
|Posted by Narinder Singh|