Man Mo Temple is lovely but relatively busy — if you want solitude, head to the nearby Kwun Yam Temple which is smaller and less touristy, but no less atmospheric
Under the ancient Ming and Qing dynasties in China, students had to take intense civil examinations to qualify for administrative roles in government. Other than simple hard work, one sure fire recipe for success was for the students to pray to god of literature (Man Cheong) and to the god of war (Mo) at one of the city’s Man Mo Temples.
Built in 1847 by the Taoists during the colonial era, the Sheung Wan temple remains the largest Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong. It must be the most tranquil place in Hong Kong. Step inside from the frantic, bustling atmosphere of the financial district and let yourself unwind under the giant hanging incense coils and the idols of the gods: Man holds a calligraphy brush; Mo wields a sword.
Nearby as part of the same complex you can also find Lit Shing Kung, the ‘saints’ palace’, which is another place of worship for other Buddhist and Taoist gods. Another hall known as Kung Sor is where the court of justice used to judge disputes before the modern judicial system was introduced. An inscription at the entrance exhorts you to leave your selfish interests and prejudices outside, which hopefully doesn’t exclude curious tourists.
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