The Man Mo Temple located in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, is one of the most famous temples in the territory, and is an excellent place to glimpse the more traditional side of a city known for its modernism. Although there are several Man Mo Temples in Hong Kong, the one located on Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, is the oldest and most impressive.
Man Mo Temple
Like its similarly-named counterparts, the Man Mo Temple is dedicated to the worship of two Taoist gods: Man Tai, the god of literature, and Mo Tai, the god of war. The Man Mo Temple was built in 1847, making it one of the oldest temples in Hong Kong. And although it is a popular stop on the tourist circuit, it is also a “working” temple, and locals frequently visit to light a stick of incense and to pray for blessing on their endeavors.
Upon entering the temple’s intricately decorated gates, visitors are greeted with a cloud of blue smoke, much of it emanating from the cone-shaped spirals of burning incense hanging from the ceiling. The spirals of incense are the temple’s most famous sight, often captured in photographs, documentaries, and movies. In addition, more sticks of incense are burning in front of statues of Man and Mo located around the temple. Fresh flowers festoon the statues and altars. The accumulation of smoke and fragrance can irritate the breathing of some visitors, so be prepared to step outside for a breath of fresh air if necessary.
Although the temple is small, there is much to see. You may wish to have your fortune told by the English-speaking fortune-tellers, and snap a few photos of the historic buildings adjacent to the Man Mo Temple.