Tian Tan Buddha (The Big Buddha)

Tian Tan Big Buddha, popularly known as just the Big Buddha, is I think the most recognizable among the attractions in Ngong Ping 360, not to mention overpowering them all. I said that because wherever you take pictures, the Buddha is always on the background. It's so big that it can be seen across the bay as far as Macau on a clear day.
Views of the Buddha from the Cable Car and just after you stepped out of the station
The base of the Buddha is created based on the base of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, thus the name Tian Tan Big Buddha. Renowned as one of the seated Big Buddhas in the world, it also symbolizes the stability of Hong Kong, prosperity of China and peace on Earth. You might think that this statue was built centuries ago, but it's not. Although, it took 12 years to plan and built, it was only finished in 1993. The statue have been cast in 202 bronze sections in mainland China and was transported over a period of three years to Lantau, where it was assembled. 
Views of the Buddha from the Piazza and Ngong Ping Village
This hollow statue with  the height of 26 meters is claimed to be “the world’s largest seated outdoor bronze Buddha statue”.  The statue is sitting on circular three-tier podium atop the peak of  Mount Muk Yu. To get there one has to climb some 268 steps to the lower tier of the podium. There is shorter route but it's only open for tour coaches and authorized vehicles. The Buddha was modeled after Sakyamuni, who achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. 
Inside the pedestal where the Buddha is sitting in a Lotus Position is a three-story exhibition hall with a number of invaluable Buddhist items, including Buddha's relic. These halls are the: the halls of the Universe, of Benevolent Merit and of Remembrance. I'm not sure if only the hall of the Remembrance is open to the public, but that's where we entered and saw a lot of relics of the Buddha. Taking pictures inside is not allowed, but if you want to buy souvenirs, there are shops inside.
Like all other Buddhas, the features of this one also has a symbolic meaning of religious significance. The Buddha sitting on a lotus symbolizes his perfection, being pure and without defilement. The crest on both palms are the symbol for the eternal life of the Buddha.  The open face like a full moon symbolizes virtue & wisdom and the embodiment of perfection. The right hand that symbolizes the imparting fearlessness indicates the compassion to save all sentient beings from their sufferings. The 'fulfilling wishes' mudra of the left hand, resting on the lap, implies the vow to grant blessing and happiness to all or a gesture of fulfilling wishes.
Surrounding the statue on the podium lower tie are the six bronze Bodhisattva statues, also called making offerings to the Buddha. It's also called the "Offerings of the Six Devas". They are in an offering positions holding flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit and music facing the Buddha. These offering symbolize the six perfections which is necessary for enlightenment. These are the generosity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation and wisdom.
Aside from the Big Buddha the podium is also the perfect location for a panoramic view of the island and the Po Lin Monastery. It's really a very peaceful and tranquil shrine if only people are not adding up every minute. We went there at the opening of the Ngong Ping Village but I can't get a single shot without the people. I can't blame them though because it's all worth climbing the many steps to see the Buddha upfront.
I know many people didn't go there because of the climb, but for me it's still not that high and tiring compare to the one at Kamay ni Hesus Shrine in Lucban, Quezon, Philippines. The steps to the shrine are winding & zigzag because of the stations of the cross along the way. But if you can, make sure to climb the steps when you visit Ngong Ping 360. It's all worth it. And at the same time you will not wonder what's up and how it looks like up there.

Helpful Tips:
  • Bring umbrellas or wear a cap when you plan on climbing the stairs to th Big Buddha. There's no shade along the stairs so it's really hot. Except of course if it's the cold season in Hong Kong.
  • Bring bottled water if you're not fit to climb. You will need it when you are running out of breath and take a rest.
  • Enjoy the view around, as it's really nice up there. I really wanted to see it at night, but I will soon.
Address: Ngong Ping 360, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Website: http://www.plm.org.hk/eng/home.php
Opening Hours: 10:am t0 6:00pm (Weekdays) | 9:00m to 6:30pm (Weekends)
Please click here on how to get there via the Cable Car.


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