October 31, 2013

Avenue of Stars - Hong Kong

Site Name: Avenue of Stars
Site Type:     Tribute to Hong Kong film industry
Location:  Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Hong Kong
Highlights: One of the majore attractions of Hong Kong
Nearest Train Station: MTR TST
Nearest Airport: Hong Kong
How to reach: Easily accessible by road; MTR station nearby
Hotel: Plenty of options in all ranges in this area
Restaurants: Name a verity of restaurant; you can find that for sure in this area

"Avenue of Stars" is one of the major attractions of Hong Kong. It is located at the scenic Tsim Sha Tsui promenade. It was modeled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was opened in 2004 CE. The place commands a stunning panoramic view across Victoria Harbour. The site looks more attractive in the night thanks to Symphony of Lights display.

The replica of the statuette given to the winners at the Hong Kong Film Award ceremony is the first attraction in the 440 meter promenade. All along the promenade, you can find a lot of inscriptions printed on red pillars which talk about the history of Hong Kong film industry from the very beginning. In fact, it is designed in such a way that each inscription talks about the history of a particular decade.

You can also find plaques that contain hand prints and autographs of the Hong Kong cine stars. There are few statues that depict cine shooting, camera man, devices/materials related to cine industry, etc. The life sized statue of Bruce Lee is the major attraction in this site.

If you walk all along the promenade, you can enjoy the sea breeze along with the picturesque view of waterfront of Victoria Harbour. Also, some of the other attractions such as Clock Tower, Star Ferry, etc. are located near this site.

A lovely romantic place in Hong Kong...never miss.

Happy travelling.

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October 30, 2013

Star Ferry - Hong Kong

Site Name: Star Ferry
Site Type:     Ferry service
Location:  Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong
Highlights: One of '50 places of lifetime'
Nearest Train Station: MTR TST, MTR Hong Kong and MTR Wan Chai
Nearest Airport: Hong Kong
How to reach: 
TST Star Ferry pier: MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit L6. Walk to the Clock Tower along Salisbury Road

Central Star Ferry pier: MTR Hong Kong Station, Exit A2 or MTR Central Station Exit A. Walk to the pier along Man Yiu Street

Wan Chai Star Ferry pier: MTR Wan Chai Station, Exit A1. Take the skybridge to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, and descend to Convention Avenue at Harbour Road

Hotel: Plenty of options in all ranges nearby
Restaurants: Name a verity of restaurant; you can find that for sure in this area

Since 1888 CE the attractive star ferries have been carrying passengers between Hong Kong island and Kowloon. Even after a century, the Victoria Harbour and the star ferries have not lost their charm. The place remains one of the most photographed harbour in the world. The star ferry experience is considered as 'one of 50 places of lifetime'.

You cannot claim to have visited Hong Kong without a ferry ride. 

For fare and frequency of the ferries, please visit the website http://www.starferry.com.hk/tour.html

Happy travelling.

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October 28, 2013

Man Mo Temple - Hong Kong

Site Name: Man Mo Temple
Site Type:     Chinese traditional temple
Location:  Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Central, Hong Kong
Highlights: The most popular Chinese traditional temple in Hong Kong
Nearest Train Station: MTR Sheung Wan Station
Nearest Airport: Hong Kong
How to reach: Well connected by road; MTR station is nearby;  
Bus: 26 from Des Voeux Rd. Central (in front of the HSBC headquarters) to the 2nd stop on Hollywood Rd., across from the temple.  
Take the Central-Mid-Levels Escalator to Hollywood Rd. and turn right.
MTR Sheung Wan Station Exit A2 then walk along Hillier Street to Queen's Road Central. Then proceed up Ladder Street (next to Lok Ku Road) to Hollywood Road to the Man Mo Temple.
Hotel: Plenty of options in all ranges in the area
Restaurants: Name a verity of restaurant; you can find that for sure in this area
Opening Hours: 8 am - 6 pm

Central is the busiest area in Hong Kong island. Whether you want to transit to other areas of Hong Kong, visit some of the most beautiful architectural wonders, do some shopping or just want to wander around, you have to access Central area for sure. Man Mo Temple which is located in the popular Hollywood Road at Sheung Wan in Central is an important landmark of Hong Kong. This is the most popular Chinese traditional temple (Confucian or Taoist temple) of the city.

Man Mo Temple, which was built in 1847 CE, is dedicated to two Gods - Man, the God of Literature and Mo, the God of War. Man is dressed in red colored dress and holds a calligraphy brush. He was a Chinese statesman called Man Cheung, who lived in the 3rd century B.C. Mo wears a green robe and carries a sword. (Incidentally, you can find shrines of Mo in Hong Kong police stations as well as triad secret societies.) A Han dynasty man named Kwan Yu who lived in the 2nd century C.E. is worshiped as Mo. 

The main altar (shrine) of the temple has the idols of Man and Mo. Man on the left side of the shrine with Mo to his right side. There are four giant idols located facing the main shrine. All these four sub-deities belong to the family of Mo.

To the left of the main altar, there is a sub shrine dedicated to the God of City. There is another sub-shrine on the right side, dedicated to a Judge, who is worshiped as the God nowadays.

Two ornate sedan chairs carved in 1862 are on display in the temple; they were used to carry the deities on procession once. (If you are from India, you would not surprise to see this.)

Like any other Chinese temples, there are so many giant incense coils hanging from the ceiling across the entire temple complex.

The temple has two adjacent blocks - Lit Shing Temple dedicated to all heavenly Gods and Kung So, the assembly hall. 

There are few small shrines found in the temple that are dedicated to Gods of Love and Sex, God of Citizen and God of Wealth.

Your visit to Hong Kong will not be complete without visiting this temple.

Happy travelling.

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October 25, 2013

Tin Hau Temple - Hong Kong

Site Name: Tin Hau Temple
Site Type:     Chinese traditional temple
Location:  Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Highlights: One of the oldest and important Chinese temples in Hong Kong; Hong Kong island was named after this site
Nearest Train Station: MTR Tin Hau station
Nearest Airport: Hong Kong
How to reach: Well connected by road; MTR station is nearby
Hotel: Plenty of options in all ranges in the area
Restaurants: Name a verity of restaurant; you can find that for sure in this area
Opening Hours: 7 am - 5 pm

Causeway Bay is a busy area jammed with shops of all kinds in Hong Kong island. Tin Hau Temple which is located at 10, Tin Hau Temple Road, east of Victoria Park in this area is an important and old Chinese traditional temple. This is the most important temple among all 40+ temples dedicated to Tin Hau in Hong Kong.

Tin Hau is the queen of heaven and the Chinese Goddess of Sea. This particular temple was originally constructed in 1747 CE. The present structure dates back to 1868 CE. 

As per the legend, this temple was built after an incense burner was found miraculously floating on the sea. This incident gave rise to one of the pre-colonial names of Hong Kong island - Hung Heung Lo (Red-incense burner island). 

The temple is popular for its Shek Wan pottery figurines on the roof and stone carvings near the entrance. Due to its original architecture, it has been declared as a protected monument.

The main altar of the temple is dedicated to Tin Hau, the sea Goddess. The side altars are dedicated Tsoi San, the God of Wealth and the Goddess of Childbirth. There are many shrines in this temple dedicated to the black-faced Pau Kung, the Judge of the Underworld. 

It is a temple which should not be missed in Hong Kong.

Happy travelling.

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October 22, 2013

Temple Street Market and Tin Hau Temple

Site Name: Temple Street Market and Tin Hau Temple
Site Type:     Street market and Chinese traditional temple
Location:  Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Highlights: One of the important street markets of Hong Kong; an important Chinese traditional temple
Nearest Train Station: MTR Yau Ma Tei station
Nearest Airport: Hong Kong
How to reach: Well connected by road; MTR Yau Ma Tei Station Exit C, walk along Man Ming Lane to Temple Street
Hotel: There are hotels available in Yau Ma Tei; however, you need to spend effort to find a good hotel 
Restaurants: Variety of eateries - mostly Chinese and even an Indian
Opening Hours: 8 am - 5 pm

Yau Ma Tei is an area in Kowloon in Hong Kong filled with narrow streets, crumbling buildings, small market areas and food stalls. Temple Street Night Market located in this area is an important market in Hong Kong. Tin Hau Temple which is located near the market is an important and old Chinese traditional temple. Let us explore about these two sites in this article.

Temple Street Market is one of the liveliest markets in Hong Kong. It comes alive in the evening; people throng to this market till mid night. Leather goods, Chinese tea, Hong Kong souvenirs and Chinese paintings are some of the best buys you can find in this market.

Tin Hau Temple is located at the junction of Temple Street and Public Square Street. There are around 40 temples in Hong Kong dedicated to Tin Hau, the Taoist Goddess of Sea. Among them, this temple is one of the most popular ones. 

This temple exists right from 1800 C.E. In 1864 C.E. the temple was enlarged and beautified. In 1876 CE, the temple was moved to the current site. 

The temple stands as an example for Chinese traditional temple architectural style. A large area of park around a big banyan tree is found in front of the temple. The main shrine of the temple, which usually has gold embroidered red cloth hung has the main deity, Tin Hau, the Chinese Sea Goddess. On either side of the main shrine, there are two small sub-shrines dedicated to Tou Tei, the Earth God and the city God Shing Wong

There are four big idols of sub-deities found near the platform where the devotees perform their prayers. Apart from that, there are a lot of small sized idols found across the entire temple. Interestingly, there is an idol which resembles the four headed Hindu God Brahma.

Like any other traditional Chinese temple, this temple also has a lot of incense spirals hung in the ceiling.

A must visit for a different experience in Hong Kong.

Happy travelling.

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October 20, 2013

Lavasa - India's Planned Hill City

Site Name: Lavasa
Site Type: Hill Station
Location:  Near Pune city, Maharashtra state, India
Highlights: The latest hill station in India; Planned and private hill station
Nearest Railway Station: Pune
Nearest Airport: Pune
How to reach: Well connected by road from Pune
Hotel: 4-5 star hotels or service apartments are available in Dasve area in Lavasa 
Restaurants: Variety of options in Dasve area

Lavasa is planned private hill station of India. The hill station located near Pune city in Maharashtra state of India might have developed as an important tourist destination by now if there were no legal issues in the project. 

Lavasa is a group of five planned cities on seven hills (Sahyadri mountain range). As of today (2013 CE) only one town is constructed - Dasve. It looks like that the second town will get constructed soon. The project got delayed thanks to controversies and concerns related to environment, politics and legal. Even in Dasve, apart from the city center, few hotels and restaurants, there is hardly anything. Most of the buildings are partially constructed. There is hardly anyone living in the structures that are already complete. Basically, it is a town where literally no one lives.

The residents of Pune city and the nearby places usually come to Lavasa for weekend drive. The place is beautiful especially during the rainy season. The drive from Temghar dam to Dasve is full of picturesque locations. The stream amidst the hills which can be seen from anywhere between the dam and Dasve in different angles is definitely an extraordinary sight.

The Varasgoan Dam across the Mose river is another major attraction near Lavasa hills.

In Lavasa, there are few tourist attractions such as Games Arcade, Water Sports, Boating, City Tour in luxury bus, colourful fountain, etc. 

Not sure about the future of this place; as on today, it cannot be considered as an ideal tourist destination. You can visit the place for a day trip or to have company conference. 

Happy travelling. 

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