Foto Friday – Big Buddha (Po Lin Monastery), Lantau Island

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Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha, is a large bronze statue, at 85ft high it sits on a throne of lotus leaves – the Buddhist symbol of purity – and was completed in 1993, it is located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, in Hong Kong.

The statue overlooks the nearby Po Lin Monastery and symbolises the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and religion. It is a major centre of Buddhism in Hong Kong.

A crazy ride via a cable car gets you from the mainland across to the island, alternatively you can hike up into the mountains from the shoreline below having crossed by boat to reach the Buddha. I took literally dozens of shots while I was on Lantau but this is still my favourite, The Buddha looks so serene when viewed directly from the foot of the steps but also so very very powerful.

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268 steps to enlightenment…!

It takes 268 steps to reach the Tian Tan Buddha, the largest outdoor Buddha in the world, and I was about to climb every single one of them. The 85ft high Buddha sits on a hilltop overlooking the Po Lin Monastery seated atop a beautiful throne of lotus leaves. Enshrined within the image is a sacred relic of the real Buddha, (a tooth in a crystal container).

But before all that you have to embark on a 4 mile cable car ride up into the mountains of Lantau island. This ride dangles you over the South China Sea before providing you with sweeping views across the country park on Lantau island and then further still into the distance beyond and the outlying islands of the archipelago. Real lunatics can trek up from sea-level to the Ngong Ping Village and then embark on the leg burning ascent to the Buddha perched up high beyond, but that was a one loony step too far for us in the 90 degree plus heat of a sweltering South Asian noon.

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Gateway to the Po Lin Monastery in Ngong Ping village.

Having swung precariously for a good 20 minutes in the cable car we disembarked at the “specially themed cultural village” which is tacky beyond belief and somewhat spoils an otherwise exciting journey up. Always one to avoid such tacky tourist traps we headed directly for the great seated Buddha. Continue reading “268 steps to enlightenment…!”