Big Buddha in Ngong Ping

Photo of Big Buddha in Ngong Ping, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Big Buddha in Ngong Ping, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of Big Buddha in Ngong Ping, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Big Buddha in Ngong Ping, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Big Buddha in Ngong Ping, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Big Buddha in Ngong Ping, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Big Buddha in Ngong Ping, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Big Buddha in Ngong Ping, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Big Buddha in Ngong Ping, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Big Buddha in Ngong Ping, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Big Buddha
Official name:Tian Tan Buddha Statue

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The Big Buddha is more than just a religious icon. It's more than a tourist attraction. It's an entirely different world. Perched at the top of a remote mountain top on Lantau Island, the giant figure looks peacefully out over an isolated world that straddles the line between peace and chaos.



Getting to the Big Buddha and Po Lin, its host monastery, is easier now than it ever has been. A cable car system opened up in 2006 allowing for comfortable transit to the miniature religious kingdom in the sky. But to really appreciate the experience, you have to go the old-fashioned way: by minibus. The bone-jarring trip hurtling up and down impossibly steep hills in a contraption barely clinging to narrow roads that are, themselves, barely clinging to the side of a mountain, is an experience no mechanical amusement park ride can match. Passengers crammed in the rear of the bus can count on thumping their heads into the roof repeatedly. Passengers in the front can count on at least one other passenger losing their lunch in a very public manner.



Interestingly, it is not the herds of elderly Chinese who have the hardest time with the trip. It is the younger, plumper, supposedly more physically fit tourists who are most unsettled by the journey. Upon arrival at the makeshift bus terminal, the outsiders take time to settle themselves, partly convinced this will be the last trip of their lives, while withered men and women three times their age scramble up the hill toward the massive bronze vision.



Their enthusiasm may very well be practical in nature. It is quite a climb up 268 steps from the Po Lin monastery to the actual Tian Tan Buddha monument. The statue is so named because it has a model of Tian Tan (Beijing's Temple of Heaven) at its base. The figure is 112 feet tall (34 meters), weighs 250 tons, and sits in a lotus position. Interestingly, the statue faces north, which is unusual since most large Buddha statues face south.

Quick Facts
Notes
    > The statue's right hand is raised, symbolizing the removal of affliction.
    > The statue's left hand is on its knee, symbolizing happiness.
    > The statue is made from 202 pieces of bronze over a steel frame.
    > 1990 - Construction begins.
    > 1993 - Construction is completed.
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