Friday, May 30, 2008

I Like Big Buddhas and I Cannot Lie

On my quest to see Big Buddha at Lantau Island, I decided to live dangerously and take the cable car 3ish miles up the mountain (2,330 feet above sea level - I have no idea what that means except that it was very high). Yes, I'd heard about some of the incidents (2 years ago when 500 visitors were left hanging mid-air for a few hours, last year when an empty cable car fell to the ground) and despite the fact that it was a rainy, foggy, cloudy, windy day I figured it would be an adventure. I was right – it was tons of fun.....even though I could hear the wind whipping through the windows, and at some points I was enveloped in fog, and at other points I looked waaaay down and really was fun. The pictures are kinda blurry since they were through the window and it was raining, but you can still see the amazing view. (Click images to enlarge.)
Tian Tan Buddha, or Big Buddha, is the world's tallest seated bronze Buddha. He's 112 feet high, weighs 250 tons, and sits on a lotus throne on Ngong Ping plateau surrounded by eight smaller worshipping statues. The base is a model of the Altar of Heaven from the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. And guess what the best part is? To get to the top, you have to climb STAIRS!!! 268 steps, to be exact. Are you kidding me?! Enough with the stairs already!
Po Lin Monastery, originally known as the Big Hut, is right next door, so I went over there to see some monks since it's an international Buddhist retreat. I entered through the Memorial Gate and the first thing I noticed were these big pots where people put gigantic sticks of incense before praying. While I was inside one of the temples, I did get a picture of a monk, but since I was trying to be sneaky and not interrupt his prayers, it's not a great picture.
At the end of the day, I decided to take the bus down the mountain instead of the cable car. And no, not because I'm chicken! Actually, the bus ride was like a roller coaster, so it was equally fun. All in all, another fabulous day! (Click here to see ALL pictures.)

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