Hong Kong’s only floating temple dedicated to the goddess Tin Hau permanently moved ashore on Tuesday, following delays in the construction of its new onshore location. The temple, which had been in the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter since 1955, is now next to the Tung Lo Wan Fire Station.
The temple, also known as the Triangular Island Goddess of Tin Hau Shrine of Peace, proved expensive to maintain since it was on the water and difficult for worshippers to access. In fact, the shrine could accommodate only up to nine devotees at a time.
There have been plans to relocate it onshore, which were delayed for three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The new temple at 111 Victoria Road in Causeway Bay is meant to resemble a boat as a tribute to the original revered landmark. According to a report in The Standard, the boat will remain in its original location and turned into a museum.
There are more than 100 temples dedicated to Tin Hau, the Chinese sea goddess, in Hong Kong. The most famous is the one at Tin Hau Temple Road, while the oldest and largest one in the SAR is at Joss House Bay. However, the floating Tin Hau Temple was unique for its history and its location.
The temple was originally located in the Pearl River Delta between Hong Kong and Macau, but the statue within it was moved by a fisherman to his own boat when the Japanese invaded China in the mid-20th century. Later, the fisherman and his compatriots raised money to build a new temple that was first moored in Macau, and later moved to its Causeway Bay location in Hong Kong. The last boat was the third one to be built as a temple.
Last year, Hong Kong lost another one of its famous water-borne landmarks when the Floating Jumbo Restaurant that dominated Aberdeen’s cultural and culinary landscapes for over 40 years was towed away from the neighbourhood’s South Typhoon Shelter. However, the following week, it sank near the Parcel Islands in the South China Sea after encountering bad weather.
Header image credits: GovHK