Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong
Wong Tai Sin Temple is the most popular temple in Hong Kong. The 18,000sqm temple is located in Wong Tai Sin, Kowloon and is dedicated to the three major religions in China – Taoism (Wong Tai Sin), Confucianism (Confucius) and Buddhism (Guanyin).
It is not a common practice to have mixed religions in a tradition Chinese temple. The temple is listed as a Grade 1 historic building and is also the only temple that is allowed to host a formal wedding ceremony.
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The First Wong Tai Sin temple was built in Wan Chai around 1915. It burned down two years later and in 1921, the temple relocated to its current place in Kowloon. At first it was a private property that was limited to Taoist believers and their family members. As the number of worshipers increased over the years, the government opened it to the public in 1956.
Besides the grand hall, main attractions included Three-Saint Hall, the Taoist temple and the Nine Dragons Wall. Also, there are a lot of historical inscriptions, couplets and heritages inside the area. The main temple was built according to tradition Chinese architecture, which includes red pillars and a gold roof.
The hall is decorated with Taoist drawings and craves. The Three-Saint hall host Lu, Guan Yu and Guanyin. A manmade garden based on the Summer Palace in Beijing was built in 1991 to celebrate the 70 years’ anniversary of the Wong Tai Sin Temple. It is very peaceful and a great place to photograph.
The temple has the most visitors on the 1st and 15th of every month. Worshipers bring incense sticks and offerings like chicken, roast pork and fruit to ask for good luck and spiritual advice. Most people seek advice on job matters, fortune and marriage. There are booths that offer face reading, palm reading and fortune-telling inside the temple. Every Chinese New Year many worshipers line up outside of the temple before midnight in order to be the first one who offers their incense stick to Wong Tai Sin. You can the see lion dance and fire dragon dance during the New Year.
You can make a small donation at the entrance however do not give money to monks outside the Wong Tai Sin Temple. There is no special dress code inside the temple. No flash photography and video recording is allowed.
Kau Cim is a common activity in the temple: You shake a bamboo container with many bamboo sticks that have a number at the end. Keep shaking until one of the bamboo sticks falls loose then bring it to the fortune-teller and tell him what kind of advice you are seeking. There is thick smoke inside the temple all the time and if you have allergy/asthma you should stay away.
Wong Tai Sin Temple
- Opening Hours: Daily from 07:00 – 17:30
- Remarks: It is always crowded, especially in the morning when many elderly people observe their morning prayers
- Address: 2, Chuk Yuen Village, Wong Tai Sin, Kowloon
- Tel: +852 2327 8141
- How to get there: Take the MTR Kwun Tong line (Green) and get off at Wong Tai Sin Station. The temple is right next to exit B3
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