Taoist temple to get HK$140 million revamp

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 April, 2008, 12:00am

Wong Tai Sin's Taoist temple is to receive a HK$140 million revamp to boost its capacity by a third and construct the biggest hall of its kind in China.

Sik Sik Yuen - a Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian charity organisation that runs the temple - has revealed details of the revamp, which begins this month, for completion by 2010.

The project will be funded by Sik Sik Yuen investment income, and there are plans to raise several million dollars more from the faithful to fully finance the project.

Sik Sik Yuen chairman Lee Yiu-fai said the organisation was confident that fund-raising for the project was secure, and that the refurbishment would boost the image of the temple and promote better understanding of Taoism.

'We have been thinking about the revamp for several years, since the introduction of solo travel across the border,' Mr Lee said. 'We wish to use a civilised, modern way to introduce Taoism to tourists and locals.'

The main temple, where the portrait of deity Wong Tai Sin is located, will be expanded with a continuous platform constructed outside, boosting the area where visitors may burn joss sticks and worship.

A 660 square metre underground Lord of the Year and Age Hall, or Huen Sun Hall, will also be built, featuring 60 Taoist deities and an overhead glass dome with Chinese astrology maps lit up by LED systems.

Other upgrades will include installation of CCTV throughout the complex for better crowd management, and the addition of traditional Chinese architecture elements to existing buildings.

Temple authorities will also enforce curbs on visitors offering over-sized joss sticks and candles to ensure better safety and reduce waiting times.

The Wong Tai Sin Temple was built in the 1930s and has since become a Taoist icon in Hong Kong.

Last year, it attracted more than 5 million visitors, according to Sik Sik Yuen. Every year, on the eve of Lunar New Year, the temple attracts up to 20,000 visitors, all eager to offer the first joss sticks of the year to Wong Tai Sin at the main temple.