On a Sunday, during my trip to Hong Kong in December 2014, I went to Po Lin Monastery. It is situated in serene surroundings of Ngong Ping area on Lantau island. It is famously known for very big sitting Buddha’s statue called Tian Tan Buddha. Needless to say, it is a big tourist destination for people visiting HK.
After learning from my mistakes the day before, I charged my phone completely and also took with me my tablet (just in case my phone battery runs out and I need to look stupid and take pics using tab). My cousin also lived on Lantau island and the cable car which takes you to Ngong Ping starts very close from his place. I decided to do the tour first and then visit him in the evening.
When I reached the Tung Chung station, I discovered a long queue for the cable car with hefty ticket price to pay. On the other hand, I had the option to take a bus, which had no queue and quite cheaper ticket. Guess what I chose. The bus was starting out in some 15 mins or so and I took the ticket and hopped onto it.
The road was like a serpent, winding and hilly. The terrain was quite mixed up. There were heavy forest on the way, good beaches and some buildings too. It took me around 50 mins to reach Ngong Ping. The place was open wide, had clean air and very peaceful. I could see Tian Tan Buddha from everywhere.
There was a large central courtyard giving a panoramic view of the whole place and connecting everything. There were around 250 steps leading to Buddha. I climbed those and must say that it was a good workout.
Reaching at the top rewarded me with a beautiful view of the area and of course the statue of Buddha. I spent a while there and clicked few pics before returning to the courtyard.
I went to the monastery and it was majestic. There were thousands of Buddha statue, I think made of gold. Photography was not allowed and words can’t describe the effect I felt there. When I came back to the central courtyard I saw many people burning incense sticks or rather I should say logs. I did not see that kind of incense logs in my entire life. In India we do have incense sticks which are tiny around a foot long and quite thin. There it was a whole tree stem. So many people offering the incense created a spiritual atmosphere. I wished that I had my DSLR with me at that time.
The central courtyard led to a ‘Wisdom Path’. I went on that to explore. It turned out to be a secluded walkway with words of wisdom written on large wooden blocks. Well, the disaster struck again, but I was prepared this time. The phone battery died out on me. I took my tab out and continued (like a stupid tourist 🙂 , no offense to anyone 😉 ).
The time of the returning bus was close and I returned to the central courtyard and continued on to the bus stop. Hopped on the bus to reach Tung Chung station and met my cousin. I spent the rest of the afternoon with the family and enjoyed it.
Later in the evening, I returned back to my hotel in TST ending an eventful day in Hong Kong. Few days later I returned to India finishing the trip.
Hong Kong offered a traditional yet modern way of living. It was a different experience for me having visited many European countries. It was an example of organised chaos, just like India. More organised than chaos. I loved HK and would visit it again when I get a chance.