The Pak Tai Temple is the largest temple on Hong Kong Island, and for some reason, it took me more than four years to visit it! It is not that hidden, but it is also not that obvious. You have to walk along the Stone Nullah Lane, past the Blue House, and then keep going for another house block, and then the temple appears on your left hand side.
The Pak Tai Temple is a Chinese Taoist style temple, built in 1863, and dedicated to Pak Tai (also known as Yuen Tin Sheung Tai). Pak Tai is a powerful martial god, who was appointed as the commander of the twelve legions of heaven in order to defeat the Demon King. As a result of his victory, he was granted his title and is usually shown in golden armour, stepping barefoot on a black tortoise and snake (servants of the Demon King) to symbolise good defeating evil. Pak Tai also has the ability to stop natural disasters and here in Hong Kong, he is also worshipped as water god.
Climbing up the stairs to the temple grounds, you find yourself in a banyan filled courtyard. A pair of dragons guard the steps and a second pair of dragons reside on the roof, giving the temple good fortune, prosperity and peace.
Once you step inside the temple grounds, you are observed by the earth god To Dei Kung, on the right hand side, and a bronze statue of Pak Tai, in front of you. The Pak Tia statue is not originally from this temple, it is from 1604 and brought to the temple during the Second World War.
Above the statue (and almost everywhere in the central building of the temple) are a multitude of brightly coloured lotus lanterns, which are beautiful to look at.
The main altar, at the back of the room, features a statue of Kwun Yum, the goddess of mercy.
Next to the main altar are the images of the Sei Dai Tin Wong (Soldiers of Pak Tai) which have lifelike appearances and are poised to strike. They protect the gods and goddesses and also the temple:
This temple is really beautiful, with two side halls – one with more masculine decorations, and the other more female. It covers a big ground, and it is less busy and also less smoky than some of the other temples in Hong Kong. Now that I know where it is, I will go back again, I prefer it to the crowded Man Mo Temple which is always too smoky with all the incense coils!
2 thoughts on “Pak Tai Temple in Wan Chai”
I visited this temple on my first year here in Hong Kong. But I accidentally came across it while I was strolling about the area! It’s a nice not so well known gem, right?
Have you been to the Lin Fa Kung Temple in Tai Hang? That’s another temple a lot of people don’t seem to know about — this even when they are familiar with the Tai Hang Fire Dragon! :)
Oh yes, thanks for reminding me – I have been to the Lin Fa Kung temple, but I never took pictures! So I need to go back and take some, so I can write about this gem as well. I am sure there’s a whole ‘temples that are (not) hidden’ series waiting for me to write :)