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Timings : 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Time Required : 2-3 hours

Entry Fee : HKD 25

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Po Lin Monastery, Hong Kong Overview

Po Lin Monastery is a Buddhist monastery sitting in the lap of Ngong Ping at Lantau Island. The highlight of the monastery is the 3 Buddha statues in its premise, representing the past, present and future lives. The famous Tian Tan Buddha statue is an extension of Po Lin Monastery.

‘Po Lin Monastery’ means ‘Precious Lotus’ and is a symbolic representation of purity. Founded in 1906, it is regarded as the centrepiece of Buddhism in the south. The small thatched hut temple is now transformed into one of the most important Buddhist centres in Hong Kong. This sacred landmark has an enchanting hall, restaurants, lush gardens and the impeccable Tian Tan Buddha sculpture that was constructed in 1993.

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The Big Buddha

The Tian Tan Buddha Statue, popularly known as the Big Buddha is an extraordinary piece of sculpture that stands erected since 1993. The 34-metre tall statue is made from 202 bronze pieces and weighs more than 250 metric tons. In fact, the figure is so tall that it can be seen from Macau on a clear sunny day. It stands across Po Lin Monastery and symbolizes the harmonious existence of man and nature. It is one of the five largest Buddha statues in China and sits on a lotus on top of the altar.

The Big Buddha at Po Lin Monastery
Tian Tan Buddha
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There are six smaller bronze Buddha statues surrounding this Tian Tan sculpture. They are a symbolic representation of the six elements namely patience, morality, zeal, meditation, wisdom and generosity all of which together play an integral role in enlightenment. These beautifully sculpted Buddha figures make a religious offering to the lord. In order to reach the statue, visitors have to climb a total of 268 stairs. There is also a winding path to accommodate vehicles so that people with disabilities can visit the site.

Bodhisattvas Statues at Po Lin Monastery
Six statues of Bodhisattvas
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Architecture of Po Lin Monastery

Over a hundred years of its existence, the Po Lin Monastery is continuously evolving. From the local Chinese architectural design to an extravagant palatial monument, this monastery has come a long way. The complex is filled with several structures and most of the temples that can be seen here are relatively new. The original temples are located at the back and they are continuously maintained to retain the old world charm and enhances the beauty of the monastery.

In 1970, the central shrine hall of the Buddha known as the ‘Hall of Skanda Bodhisattva’ was completed. One has to pass the San Men to reach this shrine. It is an architectural splendour that has adopted the Ming and Qing’s intricate designs. There are several other halls in the temple complex including the Hall of Meditation, Sangha, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, Banruo and so on. However, the highlight is a computer automated bronze bell that weighs approximately 1 ton. On the other side, there are facilities for conducting religious rituals and ceremonies. All these edifices together complete the Po Lin Monastery complex and depict the magnificence of the Buddhist way of life, art and architecture.

History

Po Lin Monastery has a history dating back to 1906 when three Chinese monks from the Jiangsu Province visited Lantau Island and fell for its charm. They set up a thatched hut in the serene environment and lived on the crops that they grew outside their home. It was originally known as ‘The Big Hut’ and the spiritual retreat attracted pilgrims from nearby areas. The monastery was renamed in 1924 and continued to expand over the years.

In 1979, the authorities from Po Lin Monastery met the members of the Chinese Buddhist Association. Their strong bond played an integral role in the transformation of this sacred site. Since 1994, this monastery is supporting the development of more than 300 schools on the Chinese mainland and continues to grow every day.

Po Lin Monastery
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Po Lin Monastery Vegetarian Restaurant

Po Lin Monastery has a kitchen where visitors can indulge in a tempting array of vegetarian dishes. Having a delicious and healthy meal in this idyllic setting is an indulgence for the tummy as well as the soul. The dishes are prepared based on seasonal availability. Hence, only fresh vegetables are being served here. Visitors are usually offered a bowl of soup, a fried delicacy and some vegetables to go with rice. There is also a small snack shop right next to the kitchen that offers different kinds of snack items.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Po Lin Monastery is October and November when the weather is cool and pleasant. December to February constitutes the coldest months and the temperature often drops below 10 degrees Celcius. Hence, it gets difficult for sightseeing during this time of the year. However, winter is not the peak tourist season and you can get good deals on travel and accommodation. The summer months, from May to September are dry and humid. So, it is advisable to avoid a trip in summer.

Tips

1. Try to avoid a visit on weekends and public holidays. Visit the monastery on weekdays (early in the morning) when the crowd is less
2. Photography is prohibited in the exhibition halls

How To Reach Po Lin Monastery

To reach Po Lin Monastery, from MTR Tung Chung Station take the Exit B to reach the cable car terminus at Ngong Ping. The cable car takes around 25 minutes to reach the stop and from there you have to walk for 10 minutes to reach the monastery.

Alternatively, take Tung Chung Station Exit B and board the New Lantao Bus no. 23 from the Town Centre. The bus journey is estimated around 45 minutes and once you reach the stop, walks for 8 minutes to reach Po Lin monastery.

You can also board a ferry from the Central terminal to reach Mui Wo from pier 6. Catch the New Lantao Bus no. 2 and get off at Ngong Ping bus stop. It will hardly take 40 minutes to reach the monastery.

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