Monday, November 30, 2009

Hong Kong Trip '09: [PART 2] Big Buddha (天坛大佛)

Hong Kong Trip '09
Part 2
Big Buddha (天坛大佛)
No trip to Hong Kong is complete without a visit to the Big Buddha, at Lantau Island, Ngong Ping. The world's largest bronze Buddha statue stands at 34 metres tall and weighs 250 tonnes, empowered in December 1993.

[On board the Ngong Ping 360]
Getting to the Big BuddhaVisitors is not too difficult. It can be reached by bus or taxi, travelling first to Mui Wo (also known as "Silvermine Bay") via ferry from the Outlying Islands piers in Central (pier No. 6) or the easier way is via MTR to Tung Chung station (Tung Chung Line; this line will intersect with the Disney Line). Visitors may then travel to and from the Buddha via the following bus routes: Mui Wo ↔ Ngong Ping — NLB No. 2 or Tung Chung ↔ Ngong Ping — NLB No. 23. However, the lengthy bus rides round the mountains are only good for those who do not have motion sickness.
The easiest and fastest way is definitely the cable car. The Ngong Ping 260 ferries passengers to-&-fro Tung Chung to Ngong Ping.

The cable car leaves the station at Ngong Ping and makes a turn at one of the station on one peak.

I definitely felt my feet turn jelly when the cable car takes us about the mountains.
Before long, the Big Buddha was already in sight.

[Big Buddha]
Seeing the Big Buddha or 天坛大佛 statue at the top of the 268 steps is definitely a sight to behold. The statue is sits on a lotus throne on top of a three-platform altar. Within the platform altar, are three halls: The Hall of Universe, Hall of Benevolent Merit, and The Hall of Remembrance. The halls contains historical Buddhist artefacts and scriptures, while a relic of Gautama Buddha is housed in the topmost hall. Visiting the Big Buddha statue is free-of-charge, however, entering these halls require the purchase of a vegetarian meal ticket at the base of the long stairs. At the base of the Big Buddha statue, there are statues of six heavenly devas making offerings to Buddha.

The Big Buddha has his right hand raised which signifies the removal of affliction. His left hand rests on his lap in a gesture of giving dhana. The Buddha faces north, which is unique among the great Buddha statues, as all others face south.

[Po Lin Monastery]
From the Big Buddha, a short walk will take you to Po Lin Monastery. In one of the small temple, there are statues of Laughing Buddha, bodhisattva and guardian devas.

[Po Lin Monastery Main Hall]
The main hall enshrines statues of Sakyamuni Buddha, Dipamkarara Buddha and Maitreya Buddha.

[Vegetarian Meal at Po Lin Monastery]
Since we purchased the Vegetarian Meal tickets to visit the halls at the Big Buddha, we were entitled to have the vegetarian meal at Po Lin Monastery. Only at the cafeteria, that we realized that it was not the vegetarian vermicelli that I was recommended. The recommended vegetarian vermicelli is served outside the dining hall. Our meal tickets are meant for a sit down lunch at the main dining hall.

I definitely enjoyed the food but I felt rather uneasy when they served us the same portion as any other tables with four or six people. The quantity was just too much for two of us, and we had to waste food. That is definitely the last thing I would do in a temple. After the heavy lunch, I could not help stuff some desserts sold outside the dining hall.

[Back on the Ngong Ping 360 back to Tung Chung]
This concludes Part 2 of our Hong Kong Trip.
Next, we will go catch some stars!

Photography & Editing by William Tan 2009
Documented using Nikon D200 with Tamron 18-270 VC and Panasonic LUMIX-LX3

No comments: