A meeting place for gods

Today, I went looking for some ruins and instead came across a “meeting place of gods”. From destruction to creation, life kinda came back a full circle.

I had read about disused army barracks in Fanling, Hong Kong which is near China border. The barracks from Hong Kong’s colonial past also have Hindu temples which have a very unique architecture.

Army barracks at Burma Lines in Fanling, the northernmost district of Hong Kong near the Lo Wu border to enter into China
I couldn’t work out what these buildings would have been used for – perhaps pigs or dogs? Couldn’t tell. There were at least 3 of these similar structures I came across inside the shrubbery.

The temples were constructed for the Gurkha Regiment to worship at, and were dedicated to Hindu god, Shiva. (The Nepalese community are an integral part of the Hong Kong society and came with the British during the colonial times)

I had read about these temples in Time Out and had set out to discover them. The barracks were positioned close to border to keep sight on any illegal crossings from across China.

The temples have an unusual architecture, very different from traditional Hindu temples. Photo courtesy: Time Out. For the full story, see here:https://www.timeout.com/hong-kong/things-to-do/hindu-temple-at-burma-lines

There is a lot of construction activity in Fanling. The area called Queen’s Hill camp, where the barracks are located, is earmarked for public housing. The area is quite desolated and villages near the border are mostly abandoned. I could only see construction workers and stray dogs.

Save for the village dogs, there is no one living in the villages. In fact, most of the villages are abandoned.

I couldn’t find the temples and the shrubbery was too dense. I was going to return home disappointed except, I came across a kind lady who told me about Lungshan Temple nearby. The Buddhist temple is also called the “meeting place for gods” for its pantheon of deities worshipped here.

Gods for all reasons; gods for all seasons

Lungshan means “Dragon Mountain” and you can see the serpent just about everywhere in the temple.

The dragon on the ceiling
The dragon on the entrance wall
The dragon on the furnace
The dragon on the pillar

Feng shui elements are also integrated in the architecture of the temple. The crab signifies achieving goals; the bat is for prosperity; the fish is for good luck and the tiger is for power.

Dual fish are symbolic of abundance and good luck
Bats are called Fu in Chinese which also means prosperity
Crabs are meant to catch onto things signifying determination to achieve goals
Tiger for power

The opulence is overpowering and yet very aesthetic.

How can such opulence come together so beautifully?

The grand entrance to the temple has a majestic door. People just don’t make doors like this any more.

A grand entrance marked by a majestic red door

The trip on the way back was like end of the world experience. There was no one. I was almost expecting zombies to emerge. The tunnels, the villages and the roads were near empty barring the construction workers.

Like zombie apocalypse

From destruction to construction; from old to new; from end to new beginnings. That was my experience today. Sometimes, life does give you back bountifully. What you set out to find & what you come by do make the journey worthwhile. Hope your Saturday was as enlightening as mine.

Old, rusty & forgotten
New, shiny & revered

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