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One of the BEST kept secrets in Hong Kong! It is not really in many of the tour books, and I am SO glad. I felt kind of silly NOT having been there before, but it is out of the way, and I just never made it. Well, I was not the only one! There were a couple others like myself who have been here less than a year. We were 16 in all.
Today I was actually “working” the tour. When we go out, the AWA has a coordinator and a sweeper. I was the sweeper today. It’s my job to make sure no one gets lost and the group stays together. Now, don’t get me wrong, these are all HIGHLY intelligent woman…but sometimes you just blink and one has wandered (a quick peek in a shop or to snap a pic) off. This was my first time being a sweeper for a tour that involved the MTR, so it was a little bit of pressure to make sure we all got on and off at the right times. This trip involved three transfers…no pressure!
I made sure everyone had their Octopus cards out in advance (this is how we pay for the MTR and other modes of transport), and off we went.
The thing is….we do all walk at different rates so keeping an eye on our coordinator who is tiny and moving the slower walkers along is a little bit of a task (this is where the herding kittens thing comes in)…but I achieved it. We arrived at Shatin…which is our MTR stop. The Monastery is just a few minutes away on foot, which is amazing since Shatin is a pretty busy place.
The Monastery is located on a mountain behind Shatin Pai Tau Village which is still there today). It was founded in 1949 by the Reverend Yuet Kai. It took 8 years to build. Now the Reverend was very old when the work started, but he carried building materials himself up the mountain.
Look closely: See the monkey…the Monastery as PLENTY of these guys running around. You DO NOT smile at them…they think seeing teeth is a sign of aggression…good safety tip!
Group shot AND a close up. These Arhans line the walkway up to the main level. There are over 400 steps and hundreds of these statues. Most are gold like this one above, and yes, he has been…enhanced…with red lips and the flower is painted. Here are a couple more!
With the sun and rain and pollution…these guys must need touching up ALL the time. This lady was being very meticulous.
You come to the first level, which is where the Pagoda is and most of the attractions (like the hall with over 10,000 Buddhas in it)..but I kept walking b/c what I found the most interesting was JUST ahead…
Now…notice these guys are NOT gold…they are painted painted. Well, these are some original artifacts that were here in Hong Kong before World War II that were sent into China for safe keeping. These were the few that came back…China decided to keep the rest.
At the top of the next series of steps (that was lined w/the painted statues was this guy. I sadly did NOT get his name..but he was beautiful and his beard reminded me of GPA.
Then, just a few steps more….was THIS!
In the Dragon’s mouth is an orb…and it looks like the same orb she is holding…not sure of the significance of that…but I am checking it out.
Here I am near a “garden” of gold statues
I made my way back down to the main area where the founder of the Monastery is entombed. THIS is where the walls are lined and lined w/small Buddhas. NO picture taking of any kind is allowed here…so I can’t show you that, but I am talking floor to ceiling Buddhas!
Then, our time was done, and it was time to gather the ladies and head off to lunch. As we walked past the path lined with golden statues…THIS was there to greet us…
We waited until he was done snacking to NOT smile at him and sneak our way passed.
Another great trip…with another great group of women. I’m glad this one is kept pretty quiet.