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Located in the New Territories near Fanling, this is the second heritage trail established by the Hong Kong Government and covers an area known locally as the "Mountain of the Leaping Dragon". The trail takes walkers through 11-century-old villages (called tsuen in Chinese), five of them enclosed or walled (called wai) to keep out bandits or marauders. Most are connected with the Tang clan, one of the historic Five Great Clans of the New Territories. |
Many of the buildings, such as the Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall, the Tin Hau Kung (a temple devoted to the worship of the deity Tin Hau – Goddess of the Sea) and Shek Lo (a two-storey private residence built in 1925 blending Chinese and Western architectural styles), together with the walls and entrance gates and even the residences in some of the walled villages (such as Lo Wai), have remained unchanged for centuries, and are excellent examples of historical and social developments in the area over the past centuries.
Some of the major sights on the Heritage Trail include:
Entrance Gate Tower of Kun Lung Wai
Kun Lung Wai is also known as San Wai. The name "Kun Lung" originates from the characters "Kun Lung" engraved on the lintel of the entrance. This walled village, which dates back to 1744, is enclosed by green brick walls. A pair of chained-ring iron gates are installed at the front entrance. The moat, which originally surrounded the walled village, has been filled in. The layout of the houses inside the village is orderly, with a communal altar situated at the end of the main alley. The tower over the gate was declared a historical monument in 1988 and was fully restored in 1994.
Walls and Watchtowers of Kun Lung Wai
Four watchtowers are located at the four corners of the village's enclosing walls for defence purposes. The walls, along with the watchtowers, were declared historical monuments and fully restored in 1994.
Entrance Gate Tower of Mat Wat Wai
Mat Wat Wai, which was built by the Tang clan during the reign of Qianlong (AD 1736-1795), is located northwest of Lo Wai. The village is enclosed by walls on four sides, with the main entrance facing north. A pair of chained-ring iron gates are installed at the main entrance where a red sandstone lintel is engraved with two characters "Wat Chung", denoting the flourishing growth of spring onion. This is proof that the original name of the village was Wat Chung Wai. All the houses in the village are in orderly rows, with a communal altar located at the end of the main alley. Unfortunately, some parts of the village's enclosing walls have been demolished. The entrance gate tower was declared a monument in 1994.
Lo Wai, situated west of the Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall, was the first walled village built by the Tang clan in this area. Constructed on a small hill, it was enclosed by brick walls on all four sides. The original village entrance faced north, but was later relocated to face east in order to achieve better fung shui. The narrowness of the entrance was meant to facilitate defence of the village. Next to the entrance is a well, which used to be the village's main water supply. The houses inside the village have been built in an orderly arrangement and a raised platform on the north wall functions as a watchtower. In January 1997, Lo Wai was declared a monument. A full restoration of the village wall and entrance gate was undertaken in 1998-99 with the generous support of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.
Note: To avoid disturbance to local residents, the interior of Lo Wai is not open to the public.
Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall
Situated east of Lo Wai, this is the main ancestral hall of the Tang clan of Lung Yeuk Tau. The hall was built in the early 16th century in memory of Tang Chung Ling, the founding ancestor. It is a three-hall building with the "dong chung" placed in the central hall. The rear hall is divided into three chambers. The central chamber houses the soul tablets of the clan ancestors, including those of the Song princess and her husband, which are elaborately carved with dragon's heads, distinguishing them from the others. The chamber to the left is dedicated to those ancestors who made significant contributions to the clan or those who achieved high ranks in the Imperial court. The chamber to the right is for the righteous members of the clan.
The entire building is exquisitely decorated with fine wood carvings, mouldings and murals of auspicious motifs, fully reflecting the superb craftsmanship of ancient times.
The Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall was declared a monument in November 1997. It is open from 9am to 1pm, and from 2pm to 5pm daily, except Tuesdays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and the first 3 days of the Lunar New Year.
How To Get There
Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail
MTR Fanling Station, take green minibus 54K or take a taxi to Lung Yeuk Tau and alight at Shung Him Tong.