Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Lo Pan Temple, Kennedy Town

When I first arrived in Hong Kong to live, back in 2006, I briefly went through a 'fascinated with all Chinese temples' phase and tried to visit as many as I could. One of my favourites still is a small place up on the hillside in Kennedy Town along a small lane called Ching Lin Terrace. It's called Lo Pan Temple and is unique in Hong Kong in several ways that I will explain in a minute. However, it had been lost in the mists of time until I recently reviewed Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (a film I will cover at a later date on my HK and Macau Film Stuff blog) where it was featured at the start of the movie.


It's a humble little place that is so well hidden it seems to hardly get any visitors, which is a shame because it is the only temple in Hong Kong dedicated to the God of Carpentry - Lo Pan - who has also been adopted by Chinese tradesmen (carpenters, builders and the like) in general.


As such, the main patrons of the temple appear to be those with connections to the building and construction industry. I guess the interior is much like many other temples in Hong Kong (unless you happen to be an aficionado of such things) but that's okay because the real attraction of this place is the angular roof style and the rather large expansive rooftop ceramics.


The building was constructed in 1884 and only recently celebrated its 125th anniversary. Thankfully the Antiquities and Monuments Office has given it a Grade 1 listing, but as anyone in HK will tell you this doesn't give it any protection from redevelopment. However, it seems that religious buildings are quite good at avoiding demolition in Hong Kong - everyone is too superstitious and no one wants to incur the wrath of any of the local gods by knocking down their houses!

To be honest, even if temples aren't your thing this place is well worth a  visit because the local area is a real treat - very quiet and picturesque - a pleasant break from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets just a few short steps below you. I think the Govt may agree because its been included on the Central and Western heritage Trail (Part B). 

4 comments:

  1. Hi Phil,

    Most of the roof top ceremic decorations in town are from Shek Wan (石灣) near Guangzhou. They have a museum (http://www.swcm.org.cn/) for these artifacts.

    Those atop local old temples were likely quite a few generations old. They could be priceless as I think modern day clay masters might not be able to duplicate them. Whether it's about the raw material op the technique required. There had been a big gap caused by the Cultural Revolution........

    T

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  2. Hi Phil --

    I finally paid a visit to this temple a couple of months back. The roof really is quite the unusual sight -- very cool! And I agree that the neighborhood around it is on the attractive side too.

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  3. Hey Phil

    So this is really the temple of the movie "Dragon The Bruce Lee Story". It is a shame that we cannot see more details of such a place in the movie. I was just wondering, where is the place, just after the temple scene, where the young Bruce looks at a wall with some stone statues, depicting some scary figures and the samurai that attacks him?

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    Replies
    1. The wall scene was filmed in a studio, without a doubt.

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