Wong Tai Sin Temple, Hong Kong

Wong Tai Sin Temple, Hong Kong
Wong Tai Sin Temple, Hong Kong

Having recently relocated to Hong Kong from Shenzhen I took a Saturday afternoon to visit Wong Tai Sin Temple in Kowloon, Hong Kong. I love temples. Does matter which country, I’m drawn to them.

As far as Asian temples go it’s no old. Construction started in the 1920s. Leung Renyan arrived in Hong Kong from China in 1915 and started to preach the praises of Chinese diety Wong Tai Sin aka the Great Immortal Wong (a kick-ass nickname). The Immortal Wong is the divine form of Wong Cho Ping – a poor and hungry Chinese shepherd. He practiced Taoism starting in his teenage years. One one tale he could transform stones into sheep. That’s a party trick on par with water into wine.

Back to Leung – in Hong Kong he opened a medicine shop with a shrine to the Wongster. It burnt down. The Immortal Wong communicated with Leung that he should build a temple. Through some hocus pocus instructions and what seems to be a lot of micro-management from the Taoism pantheon the temple was finally completed by the mid-1920s. It was a private affair for Taoist and their families until partially opened to the public.

There it has remained, now at a Hong Kong MTR stopped named after it. The Wong Tai Sin temple is now a stop for tourists. Chinese tour buses disgorge visitors most days. It’s a bustling hive of prayers, burning incense and fortune telling. It’s not a restful place, like many of the temples I have visited in Thailand. If I’m going to pray I want to be heard, not downed out by tourist.

The above was shot on a busy Saturday afternoon with a Canon 5D Mark III and 135 f/2L lens in Aperture Priority Mode.




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