Back to Tang Dynasty: Nan Lian Garden
Nan Lian Garden (南蓮園池), located near MTR Diamond Hill Station (鑽石山), is a classical Chinese garden designed in the Tang Dynasty-style. I find the logo of Diamond Hill Station (photo 1) very cute. You can see some small “diamonds” as decorations, although there aren’t any diamonds in this area at all. After arriving at MTR Diamond Hill Station, exit at C2 (Plaza Hollywood 荷里活廣場), keep walking and you will arrive at Nan Lian Garden sign (photo 2). When I was travelling there, it was still during the protest period, thus we can see many posters about the 5 demands (photo 3) from the protesters. To be honest, I believe everyone should be able to choose what they want in their lives no matter it be politics or any other issues. Nevertheless, the recent referendum outcome in Taiwan really got me thinking whether science should be a topic put forward for voting by everyone or rather scientists should make the decision for all based on their expertise. It is really some food for thoughts.
The construction of Nan Lian Garden took three years and cost around 0.245 billion HKD. Now the garden is managed by the Chi Lin Nunnery (志蓮淨苑), as it invested in half of the construction project. The design of all the wooden architectures and garden is really exquisite as if we went back in time to Tang Dynasty as one of the royals strolling in the royal garden. I personally like this tourist destination a lot, but I also feel that this place is one of those attractions that is more famous among foreigners than locals. Once we entered the garden, we immediately see trees that are carefully trimmed and rocks that are specially carved. There are lots of Banyans (榕樹) in the garden. Now looking back at my pictures, I am very happy the weather was so sunny and nice. It was really an amazing day to visit the garden!
After a short walk in the garden, we entered the Chinese Timber Architecture Gallery (中國木結構建築藝術館) (photo 1–2), an exhibition room where the original design of the wooden architecture models were displayed. Even the model itself looks really well crafted. Passing by all the models, we will end up on the way toward the highlight of the garden, Nan Lian Garden Pavilion of Absolute Perfection (圓滿閣) (3–6). Pavilion of Absolute Perfection is a golden pavilion in octagon shape. It is said that the 8 angles symbolize the 8 merits of water (八功德水) in Buddhism, but it is very difficult to translate. Some of them include: clean and cold, while the others are more related to the mind. Having those 8 qualities will bring people to perfection which is also the blessing from the pavilion to all tourists visiting the area.
Near the Pavilion of Absolute Perfection is the Rockery (石館內貌), an exhibition area about rocks in this garden. We also passed by a pavilion bridge (亭橋) and a traditional watermill (水車磨坊). Lastly, we saw Song Cha Xie Tea House (松茶榭) (photo 1) in the Blue Pond (蒼塘) (photo 2–3). This is where we can see a sharp contrast of all the modern skyscrapers against the traditional architectures in the garden. Behind the tea house, you can see there are lots of roofs on the left side, that is Chi Lin Nunnery (志蓮淨苑) (photo 1), as it was not opened, we didn’t take a close picture of it. Maybe next time, if I have another chance to visit Hong Kong, I will make sure to have a closer look at this nunnery.