A Travellerspoint blog

The mills of the gods grind slowly .....

But they grind exceedingly fine.

all seasons in one day

Today I decided to return to Tsuen Wan. I had wanted to visit the mills on my last visit, but hadn't got there, plus I wanted to visit Western Monastery and the Yuen Yuen Institute.

When I left the house, the sun was shining and I thought: "I'll be too hot all day, but at least I'll get lovely sunny photos." On the MTR journey to Tsuen Wan, I noticed the thunder storm warning had been raised. By the time I got off the train, the skies were black.

To get to the monasteries I got off at Tsuen Wan Station and exited through exit B1. I then took minibus number 81 from Shui Wo Street. It was right next to where I caught the minibus to the gin drinkers' line, that was the 82. The last stop of the 81 minibus is in a little village called Lo Wai, which is situated in the mountains behind Tsuen Wan. It stops right outside the Yuen Yuen Institute. I was the only passenger on the minibus not carrying flowers or paper offerings for dead relatives. When we arrived, everyone from the minibus went into the Yuen Yuen Institute. I decided to walk back down the hill a short way and visit the Western Monastery first. Naturally it started to rain.

The Western Monastery is a Buddhist institution which was founded in 1970 by the Hong Kong Buddhi Siksa Society. Its buildings are designed to look like Chinese palaces. I entered through an impressive entrance gate. Then I wandered off to the garden area at the side, which has a large statue of Kwan Yin, goddess of mercy and some Buddha statues.

View of the monastery across a stream on the way down from the bus stop.

View of the monastery across a stream on the way down from the bus stop.

Looking at the monastery through the entrance gate.

Looking at the monastery through the entrance gate.

The monastery after the entrance gate.

The monastery after the entrance gate.

Buddha in the garden area.

Buddha in the garden area.

Buddha in the garden area.

Buddha in the garden area.

Kuan Yin.

Kuan Yin.

I then went through the inner gateway with its four guardian gods and its Buddha statue. I could hear large numbers of monks chanting in the main hall above me.

Guardians of the entranceway.

Guardians of the entranceway.

Guardians of the entranceway.

Guardians of the entranceway.

Looking at the gate with the four guardians and the Buddha.

Looking at the gate with the four guardians and the Buddha.

The inner monastery where the monks were chanting.

The inner monastery where the monks were chanting.

Main Building.

Main Building.

There was another statue filled garden off to the side beyond the inner gateway. This garden had a pond full of turtles and a little waterfall. The turtles kept sliding across their rocky platform and dropping into the water one by one.

Turtle pond and statues inside the monastery.

Turtle pond and statues inside the monastery.

Turtles.

Turtles.

I then climbed up the stairs to the building where the monks were chanting and looked at the view. Behind this area there was a tall pagoda. Two women were walking round and round it. I'm not sure if this was for luck or if they were doing some kind of penance. There was a very colourful building near the pagoda.

Looking at the gate with the four guardians and the Buddha. Tsuen Wan is in the background.

Looking at the gate with the four guardians and the Buddha. Tsuen Wan is in the background.

Looking down on inner gateway.

Looking down on inner gateway.

The inner monastery.

The inner monastery.

A dragon headed tortoise bodied creature holding up a stone stele.

A dragon headed tortoise bodied creature holding up a stone stele.

I discovered later that this dragon/turtle creature is called a Lóngguī. It is a legendary Chinese creature that combines the positive qualities of both dragons and turtles and thus symbolizes courage, determination, fertility and longevity.

Lanterns and Roofs.

Lanterns and Roofs.

Monastery building and pagoda.

Monastery building and pagoda.

Pagoda.

Pagoda.

Pagoda.

Pagoda.

Bas Relief on Pagoda.

Bas Relief on Pagoda.

Bas Relief on the pagoda.

Bas Relief on the pagoda.

Colourful building.

Colourful building.

I largely just peered inside buildings rather than went in, though no-one seemed to be very interested in where I was going or what I was doing. It was all very chilled. I loved the paintings on ceilings and the beautiful ornate details everywhere.

Inside one of the halls.

Inside one of the halls.

Inside a hall.

Inside a hall.

Inside a hall.

Inside a hall.

Impressive Doorway.

Impressive Doorway.

Detail.

Detail.

Ceiling detail.

Ceiling detail.

Ceiling details.

Ceiling details.

Garden.

Garden.

There were lots of serene little shrines dotted all around. I liked the hanging wooden fish outside a building that I think is the monastery's vegetarian eating area. I discovered later that these fish are struck with a stick to make a particular sound.

There is a legend about their origins. Long ago a monk was on a journey to India in search of sutras or precious religious sayings. On the way he had to cross a raging river where there were neither bridges nor boats. Suddenly a fish appeared and offered to help him. The fish explained that it had once been human, but had committed a crime and had been reincarnated as a fish. It told the monk it would help him cross the river if he tried to persuade the Buddha to help him back on the path to enlightenment. The monk promised he would. For the next seventeen years, the monk searched all over India collecting sutras, then he decided to return home. On the way back he reached the same river and the fish appeared again. It asked if the monk had kept his promise, but he hadn't. He had forgotten all about the fish's help. Angrily the fish knocked the monk into the water and all his precious sutras were swept away. The devastated monk was rescued by a passing fisherman. When he returned to his monastery, he was so angry about the loss of his sutras that he made a model of the fish and hit it with a stick. Each time he struck the fish it would spit out a character of the lost sutras. After a year the monk once again had all of his precious sayings back.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Buddhas.

Buddhas.

Buddha.

Buddha.

Fish and Pagoda.

Fish and Pagoda.

Fish.

Fish.

I think this is the monastery's vegetarian eating area.

I think this is the monastery's vegetarian eating area.

The Western Monastery was so beautiful that I am tempted to go back in better weather, but there are just so many other things to see. I left and walked back up the hill to the Yuen Yuen Institute. By the time I got there, the rain was pelting down.

The Yuen Yuen Institute was established in 1950 by monks from Sanyuan Gong in Guangzhou. It is fairly unique in Hong Kong in that it is dedicated to Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. The main building here is a replica of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The Yuen Yuen Institute was very crowded with people burning paper offerings for their ancestors. There was a lot going on here, including a service attended by a group of chanting and instrument playing monks.

The Yuen Yuen Institute.

The Yuen Yuen Institute.

Looking towards Western Monastery Pagoda

Looking towards Western Monastery Pagoda

Offerings.

Offerings.

Paper offerings.

Paper offerings.

Chanting Monks.

Chanting Monks.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

Temple building.

Temple building.

Temple building.

Temple building.

Dragon Roof.

Dragon Roof.

Praying in the temple.

Praying in the temple.

Pagoda.

Pagoda.

The Pagoda and Kuan Yin.

The Pagoda and Kuan Yin.

Lucky Golden Carp.

Lucky Golden Carp.

Wandering the temple.

Wandering the temple.

Soaked through and with no sign of the rain abating, I decided to cut my losses and head back to Tsuen Wan. When I arrived, I headed towards exit A3 of the MTR. I walked in the direction of Discovery Park. This route lead me through a multi-coloured tunnel which I personally thought was rather beautiful towards Discovery Park Shopping Mall.

Multi coloured Tunnel Walkway.

Multi coloured Tunnel Walkway.

Multi coloured Tunnel Walkway.

Multi coloured Tunnel Walkway.

Discovery Park Shopping Mall.

Discovery Park Shopping Mall.

Discovery Park Shopping Mall.

Discovery Park Shopping Mall.

I cut through Discovery Park Shopping Mall, exited, crossed the main road via a walkway and headed to Pak Tin Par Street to find the mills. The mills were originally known as Nan Fung Textiles. These former factories were founded by Shanghainese businessman Dr Chen Din-hwa in 1956. They concentrated on spinning and weaving garments which were then sold in Asia, Australia, Europe, the United States and Central America. At one point after the demise of the textile industry in Hong Kong these buildings were faced with demolition, but they were saved by Vanessa Cheung, granddaughter of Dr Chen Din-hwa. They have now been converted into an exhibition centre and high class shopping mall. Outside the buildings there are many beautiful murals related to the history of Nan Fung Textiles. Inside there is a museum, shops, restaurants and a venue for turning yourself into a Chinese opera star. I really loved the outdoor areas with reflecting pools which, even on a miserable rainy day, were truly beautiful.

Entrance to the mills.

Entrance to the mills.

Mural at Entrance to Mills.

Mural at Entrance to Mills.

Mural and entrance the mills.

Mural and entrance the mills.

Mural and entrance the mills.

Mural and entrance the mills.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

The mills occupies several floors. On the ground floor there were colourful chairs in the centre of a variety of shops.

Colourful Hall in the mills.

Colourful Hall in the mills.

Every now and then there was an exhibit about plants used in the manufacture of different types of cloth.

Plants from which we make cloth.

Plants from which we make cloth.

Textiles.

Textiles.

On one of the outside terraces there was a moving tapestry. This consisted of beautiful pictures connected to manufacturing textiles, but these pictures were made up of many squares of cloth which move in the wind just like a worn garment moves as people wander around wearing it.

A moving tapestry.

A moving tapestry.

A moving tapestry.

A moving tapestry.

A moving tapestry.

A moving tapestry.

A moving tapestry.

A moving tapestry.

A moving tapestry.

A moving tapestry.

A moving tapestry.

A moving tapestry.

Also in this area there was a pond with fantastic reflections of the surrounding buildings.

Reflections.

Reflections.

Later I found a second outdoor terrace filled with beautiful plants and another reflecting pool.

Plants on the outdoor terrace.

Plants on the outdoor terrace.

Plants on the outdoor terrace.

Plants on the outdoor terrace.

Reflections.

Reflections.

Reflections.

Reflections.

Reflections.

Reflections.

Reflections.

Reflections.

There are several exhibition rooms in the mills, but only one was open during my visit. It showed the history of textile manfacture in this factory.

Former Machinery in Museum.

Former Machinery in Museum.

Former Machinery in Museum.

Former Machinery in Museum.

Finished products in museum.

Finished products in museum.

Finished products in museum.

Finished products in museum.

Finished products in museum.

Finished products in museum.

Finished products in museum.

Finished products in museum.

Finished products in museum.

Finished products in museum.

Finished products in museum.

Finished products in museum.

Personally I was rather fascinated by all the people who were dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars and having their photos taken. I suppose it was rude of me to push in and photograph them, too, but I did.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

Dressing up as Chinese Opera Stars.

The mills also has a variety of inviting looking restaurants.

Restaurants

Restaurants

Restaurants.

Restaurants.

Finally, I left the mills and walked back to the MTR and returned home.

Walking the streets of Tsuen Wan.

Walking the streets of Tsuen Wan.

Washing hanging out to dry.

Washing hanging out to dry.

All kinds of buildings from old to new.

All kinds of buildings from old to new.

Building Reflections

Building Reflections

Minibuses on a Tsuen Wan Street.

Minibuses on a Tsuen Wan Street.

Posted by irenevt 15:48 Archived in Hong Kong

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

I think you should dress up as a Chinese opera star. The blue outfit would be perfect for your coloring. Can you sing?

What a fun day despite the rain and you got some beautiful pictures.

by Beausoleil

Hi Sally, not sure I could sit still long enough to have the make-up done. The clothes are amazing though.

by irenevt

I am glad you did photographed the Chinese opera star-wannabes, fascinating photos!
And serene monastery! First little bit of calm before hustling and bustling of people :)

by hennaonthetrek

Hi Henna, I really did enjoy seeing all those people in their fancy costumes.

by irenevt

WOW. You have a knack of finding beautiful pictures, don't loose it.

by alectrevor

Hi Alec, glad you enjoyed them.

by irenevt

Wow, what a lot you pack into a day! I've been neglecting TP rather in favour of my newish WordPress blog but I do keep an eye on things here and will be back from time to time to see what my friends are up to :) As always I enjoyed seeing your colourful photos, especially all the monastery details and statues. The dragon/turtle creature looks fascinating. A shame about the rain later in the day but you still seem to have seen a lot and got some good photos :)

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, possibly I'll revisit in better weather. It was still good.

by irenevt

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Login