Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas - Hongkong
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Directions to Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas
The Temple of 10,000 Buddhas is situated in Sha Tin, near the Sha Tin Racecourse. As the name suggests, this is the perfect place to visit if you like Buddhas (specifically, almost 13,000 of them!). Visiting the temple requires a hike up almost 500 steps, lined with every type of golden, red-lipped Buddha imaginable, each one unique. Happy, fat, androgynous, old, Indian-style, seated, and every type of Buddha in between all welcome you as you follow in the footsteps of the founder up the hill. Unlike many locations in Hong Kong, there is no lift, but it is oh so worth it!
Founded fairly recently in 1951, the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas took eight years to construct, and an additional ten to complete all of the Buddhas. The founder, Yuet Kai, was a devout Buddhist layman, who personally assisted with the transportation of building materials up the mountain, as well as construction of the temple, despite his old age. His remains are one of the highlights of the temple, being encased in gold (think of the movie Goldmember). If you think you see an eerily lifelike Buddha, you have found him.
Inside the main hall, each Buddha represents a living person, who has made a generous donation to the temple. Look closely at the mini Buddhas lining the walls of the main hall, and you will see names and wishes for success, wealth, and long life (if you can read Chinese!) You will see devotees kneeling, bowing, and using Fortune Sticks to foresee their future. They ask you not to use flash photography inside, as it damages the artwork.
Other large, colourful statues line the main plaza, with the best view of the surrounding New Territories being from the side opposite the main hall. The red Pagoda, also in the main square, is a famous landmark of Hong Kong that is also on the back of some HK $100 notes!
They also have a vegetarian restaurant, in true Buddhist fashion.
Up another flight of stairs from the main hall lies the Big Buddha and a couple of other pavilions that are worth seeing.
How to get there: Take the MTR to Sha Tin station, exit B. Once you come out of the station, turn left and follow the crowds down the long footbridge. Continue straight, across the road towards IKEA, then veer left, hugging the shopping centre. You will see templish-looking buildings on your left, but hug the wall of the shopping centre, as that will lead you to the entrance, which is a upwards walkway of stairs lined with unique, golden Buddhas.
• Bring mosquito repellent for the hike up, as it is in a wooded area, and wear comfortable walking shoes.
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