Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hong Kong-Day 2, Po Lin Monastery

Our second day took us to Lan Tau Island on the other side of the big natural harbour of Hong Kong. The whole island is absolutely beautiful, with lush mountain ranges and gorgeous sandy beaches lining up along the South China Sea.

We visited the Po Lin Monastery and the largest Buddha statue in the world. Later that day we took the Ngong Ping Cable Cars back to one of the many modern subway stations. We then headed back into the bustling city and ended our day in Hong Kong’s SoHo.

Below are photos of the monastery. The photos of the giant Buddha and Ngong Ping will follow in a separate entry.

Our second day started out at one of the many piers down at Hong Kong’s harbour. We took a 45-minute ferry ride across the huge bay towards Lan Tau Island. This is the famous Star Ferry Pier.

The main gateway to the Po Lin Monastery.

Once we passed the gateway, we reached a big plaza from where we saw the giant Buddha sitting on top of the mountain.

The world’s largest Buddha sits atop the mountain behind George and I. Later we would climb those stairs to get to the top. There are no escalators or elevators. Many elderly Chinese women were almost in better shape than we were trying to walk up those stairs.

The unassuming entrance into the monastery. There were flowers everywhere. It was overwhelming.

George in front of the smaller shrine of the monastery. You need to pass through here first before reaching the square in front of the big temple.

All the beautiful craftsmanship and artistry were almost too much to take in.

One of many big bells in the monastery. All the offerings consisted of fresh fruits and more flowers. Why does only Buddha get all the good stuff?

These stone plate inscriptions could be found all over the area. Does anyone know what this particular one says?

Behind me is the main temple of the Po Lin Monastery.

The three golden Buddhas inside the main temple. This building is so richly appointed with art that one doesn’t even know where to look first.

Silk lanterns hanging from the tall, vaulted, and elaborately painted ceilings inside the temple.

Detail of a dragon, chiseled out of stone, at the main temple of the Po Lin Monastery.

The temple is surrounded by these amazing stone carvings and sculptures.

Another detail shot of the countless stone chiseled dragons.

The giant Buddha as seen from the temple. It was our next destination. More photos of that in the next entry...

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