Museums in Hong Kong Island

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Temples are the best kind of museums that are available in Hong Kong, not only because the admission for most of them is free but also because of the rich traditions they house within their walls. Here is just a small sample of temples that you can visit during your stay in Hong Kong.

Man Mo Temple

Located on Hollywood Road near "Cat Street", the Man Mo Temple is one of the largest and oldest temples in Hong Kong, dating back to 1842 or 1847, depending on which side of history you take. The temple is dedicated to the god Man (born Cheung Ah Tse in A.D. 287), who is the God of Literature. Man also controls the destinies of civil servants (mandarins) who in ancient times were the hierarchy of the Chinese intelligentsia. This temple is also dedicated to the God of Martial Arts or War. Mo (also known as Kuan Ti or Kuan Kung) who was born Kuan Yue in A.D. 160. Mo is best known for the protections he gives people from the deprivations of war and is said to be a favorite of members of Hong Kong's underworld. Ironically, Mo is also found at every police station.

Tin Hau Temples

The grandest, most spectacular celebration dedicated to Tin Hau, Hong Kong's popular Goddess of the Sea, takes place at Da Miao (The Green Temple) in Joss House Bay when tens of thousands of people aboard hundreds of junks and public ferries converge on the hilltop temple to the accompaniment of gongs and drums. It's always a memorable experience to see this colorful fleet assembled off the remote Fat Ton Mun Peninsula in the New Territories.The entryway to this temple is marked with a pair of door gods, whose task is to guard against any mischief making evil spirits who might attempt to enter. Legends indicate that this pair of gods represents 2 generals of the T'ang dynasty (A.D. 618 to 906), Chiu Shu-pao and Hu Ching-tai, who were able to protect the Emperor from demons by posting themselves outside the palace gates.

The other popular Tin Hau temple is the Tin Hau Temple in Aberdeen, which dates back to 1851 when the present temple site was still on the seashore. Its last renovation was in 1898, but it is still in great condition. Like most traditional Taoist temples, its rooftop is bordered by miniature figures from Chinese legend and mythology. The central shrine contains 2 statues of Tin Hau . The smaller statue is carried in processions on festival days. This duplication of the principal deity is another common feature of Taoist temples. At this temple you will find several statues of minor deities, illustrating the flexibility of Taoism and the diverse needs, both material and spiritual, of Hong Kong's faithful temple visitors.

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January 12, 2010 change by damiandavilarojas

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