The Chi Lin Nunnery is a large and splendid Buddhist complex that combine arresting architecture, intricate and exquisite bonsai gardens and lotus ponds, and the soft chanting sounds of resident nuns and followers to fill you with a sense of serenity and inner peace, just blocks from the skyscrapers and mayhem of the city.
Located in the Diamond Hill district, a visit to the Nunnery can be easily combined with the gorgeous Nan Lian Gardens which are just accross the street. And although not exactly around the corner, both can be easily reached with the MTR, the gardens and nunnery are only a five-minute walk away from the Diamond Hill Station.
The Chi Lin Nunnery, founded in the 1930's, is committed to promote Chinese culture and Buddhist understanding and awareness as well as to provide education and welfare services for the elderly and the needy.
The buildings and structures that you see today were completely rebuilt in 1998.
This is not an "ancient" monastery, in fact, the temples, halls and courtyards have a "newness" feel to it, but despite that, the techniques and craftmanship employed follow the traditional ways of Chinese Tang Dynasty ancient architecture.
In following with that tradition, only natural materials have been used, wood, stone, and clay, and not one single nail has been employed to
hold the structures together.
The complex consists of a series of gates, courtyards, corridors and terraces that flank the main temple halls which are prominently in the center.
Dotted throughout are statues and stone carvings, lots of blooming bouganvillea...
...bonsai trees, cypresses, incense urns...
... and beautiful lotus ponds...
Front and center on opposite ends of the courtyards are the main Halls. It is hard to believe these majestic structures are put together without a single nail.
Inside the Halls are images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. There is no photography allowed inside any of the prayer Halls.
And take time to also admire the details, on the roof, windows, doors...
All courtyards, bushes, and ponds are meticulously maintained...
After your visit, cross the overhead pedestrian bridge to the other side of the street...
It will bring you to the Nan Lian Garden, another beautiful and tranquil place to unwind...
Here's more on the Nan Lian Garden.
Visiting the Chi Lin Nunnery
Getting There: Take the MTR Kwun Tong Line (Green Line) to Diamond Hill Station. It should take about 20 minutes from Tsim Sha Tsui and slightly more from Admiralty/Central. Follow the signs from the station, it is about a 5 minute walk to the gardens.
Hours: Halls from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm., Courtyards and Ponds 7:00 am to 7:00 pm
How Much?: FREE
Know Before You Go:
- Photography/Video is not allowed inside the Halls
- Please dress appropriately.
- Also convenient/nearby: Nan Lian Garden (next door), Wong Tai Sin Temple (One MTR station away), Saikung Fishing Village(not "nearby" but direct buses to Saikung depart from Diamond Hill station making it very convenient, trip takes about 40-45 minutes)
More Info: www.chilin.org. (site in Chinese)
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