Need a little extra luck for the coming New Year? Che Kung’s your man
A General’s Loyalty
Che Kung Temple (車公廟) is another of those Hong Kong temples dedicated not to a spiritual entity that may or may not exist, but to a genuine historical figure.
Like Hong Kong’s favourite god Guan Yu, Che Kung made his name as a military general. He was active during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) and is said to have been the suppressor-in-chief of many a South China uprising, helping to save the failing dynasty from catastrophe on numerous occasions.
Che Kung’s loyalty to the emperor saw him honoured many times over for his heroics in defence of the throne. He is even said to have accompanied the 8 year-old, soon-to-be-last Song emperor Huaizong, and his soon-to-be-dead older brother, on their escape to Hong Kong ahead of the rampant Mongol armies. Though the historical basis for this story has been somewhat muddied over time.
Not content with simply saving dynasties, however, Che Kung was also famed as a battler of plagues and pestilence. During his lifetime, he was said to have been a bit of a whiz at curing diseases, while later, when a particularly nasty bout of cholera hit Shatin, residents apparently began building a temple in order to pray for his protection. legend has it that upon the temple’s completion, the spread of the cholera suddenly ceased. Che Kung has been worshipped at the site as a god of protection and good fortune ever since.
Che Kung Festival
The Che Kung Temple in Tai Wai is the largest and most famous Che Kung Temple in Hong Kong. Originally built at the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), it has since been renovated several times, the latest being in 2004. The original temple is actually situated behind the current main hall but is no longer open to the public. It was listed as a Grade II historical building in 1987, with the existing structure being built in 1994 in order to better accommodate the thousands of worshippers that visit the temple each year during the Che Kung Festival.
Taking place on the second day of the Chinese new year, Che Kung Festival (車公誕) celebrates Che Kung’s birth and is said to attract up to 100,000 people to the temple on this one auspicious day. Visitors seeking Che Kung’s benevolence will usually bow or pray to the huge statue in the main hall, light incense and leave gifts of fruit and other food on the main altar. There are also a pair of copper fans that can be spun and two drums for worshippers to beat in order to ensure good luck for the coming year.
Che Kung Festivals take place four times annually on the following days: 2nd day of the first lunar month; 27th day of the third lunar month; 6th day of the sixth lunar month; 16th day of the eighth lunar month.
How to get to Che Kung Temple
Che Kung Miu is located in between Tai Wai Station on the East Rail Line and Che Kung Temple Station on the Ma On Shan Line. Arriving at either station, take Exit B and cross the road. From Che Kung Temple Station walk right for 10 minutes. From Tai Wai station walk left for 10 minutes.
It is also possible to reach the temple by bus. Coming from Hong Kong Island, take bus 170 or 182 towards Sha Tin and get off just before Che Kung Temple station
Temple opening hours are from 7am to 6pm daily.
Related Post: For more info on Hong Kong’s best temples, see category: hong kong temples
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