The mission of the day was to go to see Big Buddha, on Lantau island (that’s also where Hong Kong International Airport is situated). Since the storm had passed, it was a beautiful day and the line to the tramway that goes up to the site where the Buddha is perched, was very long — we waited for an hour to get onto the car. The tramway is fairly new, started operating in 2006, goes for 5.7 kms and is supported by 8 towers. It goes up very high at one point as the first picture shows, but the other segments are lower. We picked a cabin with a glass floor (it was OK sitting down but eerie standing up).
There is a village with all kinds of souvenir and food stores, and then one has to climb a series of steps to get to the statue of Buddha.
The statue is named Tian Tan Buddha because its base is a model of the Altar of Heaven or Earthly Mount of Tian Tan, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. It is one of the five large Buddha statues in China. The Buddha statue sits on a lotus throne on top of a three-platform altar. It is surrounded by six smaller bronze statues known as “The Offering of the Six Devas” and are posed offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha. These offerings symbolize charity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary to enter into nirvana (see last picture).
The Buddha is 34 metres (112 ft) tall, weighs 250 metric tons (280 short tons), and was the world’s tallest outdoor bronze seated Buddha prior to 2007. It reputedly can even be seen from as far away as Macau on a clear day. Visitors have to climb 268 steps in order to reach the Buddha (we climbed it, yes! oof!) , though the site also features a small winding road to the Buddha for vehicles to accommodate the handicapped.