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A journey back in history :¡uPing Shan Heritage Trail¡v

The first of its kind in Hong Kong, the Ping Shan Heritage Trail was inaugurated on 12 December 1993. Stretching about 1.6 km in length, the Trail meanders through Hang Mei Tsuen, Hang Tau Tsuen and Sheung Cheung Wai. It links up a number of traditional Chinese buildings within easy walking distance of each other to pro vide visitors with an opportunity to learn more about traditional life in the New Territories in a convenient half day excursion.

Transportation Information:
MTR West Rail Line - Tin Shui Wai Station



¡uPing Shan Heritage Trail¡v(Map Picture source: Antiquities and Monuments Office)



Take the MTR "West Rail Line" and exit at "Tin Shui Wai Station" Exit E3.



After exiting the station, you can see the stairs on the opposite side of the road. Go down the stairs and you will see the "Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda". 



Situated to the north of Sheung Cheung Wai, the Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda(Pagoda of Gathering Stars) is the only ancient pagoda in Hong Kong. According to the genealogy of the Tang Clan in Ping Shan, the pagoda was built more than 600 years ago. According to the Tang Clan, the Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda was originally situated at the mouth of a river facing Deep Bay and was intended as a feng shui structure designed to ward off evil spirits from the north and to preven t fooding. Its auspicious location, in alignment with Castle Peak, would ensure success for clan members in the imperial civil service examinations. The Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda was declared a monument in December 2001. 



Back on the road, follow the map and walk to the right to The Tat Tak Communal Hall.





The Tat Tak Communal Hall is the only surviving purpose built communal hall in Hong Kong which served as both an assembly cum worshipping place for a joint village alliance, and a management of fi ce of a market place. The establishment of the communal hall was initia ted by Tang Fan yau, a member of the local gentry. The building was completed in the 7th year of the Xianfeng reign (1857) of the Qing dynasty as an assembly cum worshipping place for the members of the Tat Tak Alliance, as well as the management of ce of Ping Shan Market. It is believed to be one of the meeting places at which the armed resistant against the British takeover of the New Territories in 1899 was organised. The Tat Tak Communal Hall was declared a monument in December 2013.




As a venue for meeting, the Tat Tak Communal Hall was built with simple but functional design. The communal hall was originally a two hall and three bay structure. The Hall of Lonesome Consolation was added on the left side and the Hall of Bravery on the right side in the 5th year of the Tongzhi reign (1866). The building is mainly constructed of grey bricks with pitched roofs and gr anite blocks as lower course. Modern architectural elements in the communal hall, such as reinforced concrete structures on top of the grey brick walls, are believed to have been added during later renovations carried out in the 20th century.



Go back to the road and go in the opposite direction of The Tat Tak Communal Hall.



Go along this road.



Not far west of Sheung Cheung Wai lies a shrine dedicated to To Tei Kung (the Earth God), who is known to the villagers as She Kung (also known as Pak Kung and Fuk Tak Kung). Altars such as this one are commonly found in traditional Chinese villages, as Sh e Kung is believed to be the protector of villagers. They are usually simple brick structures on which stones are placed to symbolise the presence of the god. Those with higher status may have gable walls with a ¡§wok yee¡¨ (¡¨the handles of a Chinese cooking pan¡¨) design.



Stones as the god statue.



Enter Hang Tau Tsuen.



Sheung Cheung Wai, situated west of Hang Tau Tsuen, was built about 200 years ago by a line of the Tang Clan that branched out from Hang Tau Tsuen. It is the only walled village along the Ping Shan Heritage Trail. (Outlook of Sheung Cheung Wai)



Sheung Cheung Wai is a typical local walled village. The symmetrical layout of the village features rows of houses enclosed by a gray brick wall, with the gatehouse and shrine lying on the central axis. The wall of the village was once surrounded by a moat with the only entrance situated in the middle of the southern wall. Although the moat has been _lled in, and the gatehouse and the shrine have been re constructed, part of the enclosing walls and old houses inside st ill remain to provide a general impression of the original setting, layout and characteristics of a traditional Chinese walled village.



On the trail between the Yeung Hau Temple and Sheung Cheung Wai lies an old well that, according to the Tang villagers, was built by the residents of Hang Tau Tsuen more than 200 years ago, before the establishment of Sheung Cheung Wai, although the exact date of its construction cann ot be determined. The well was once the main source of drinking water for both villages.



There are also koi in the old well.



Located in Hang Tau Tsuen, the Yeung Hau Temple is one of the six temples in Yuen Long dedicated to the deity of Hau Wong. The exact date that the temple was constructed has proved impossible to trace, but it is believed to have a history that dates back s everal hundred years. Inscriptions on the boards inside the temple indicate that the building underwent major renovations in 1963 and 1991. A restoration project was also conducted in 2002.



The Yeung Hau Temple is a simple structure divided into three bays housing the statues of Hau Wong, To Tei (the Earth God) and Kam Fa (patron saint of expectant mothers)



The identity of Hau Wong is the subject of several different stories, but the villagers in Ping Shan believe that he was the Marquis Yang Liangjie, a Song dynasty general who gave up his life to protect the last two Song emperors and who is thus worshipped for his loyalty and bravery. The Hau Wong Festival is held annually on the 16th day of the sixth lunar month.





Situated between Hang Tau Tsuen and Hang Mei Tsuen, the Tang Ancestral Hall is the main ancestral hall of the Tang Clan that has resided in the area all these years. The ancestral hall was constructed about 700 years ago. As in the past, the ancestral hall is still used regularly as a venue for worship, festivals an d ceremonies, and clan meetings. The Tang Ancestral Hall was declared a monument in December 2001.







Looking at this arrangement, there should be a wedding ceremony held here today.



Tang Ancestral Hall





The Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall is situated south of the Tang Ancestral Hall. It was constructed in the early 16th century by two 11th generation brothers of the Tang Clan: Tang Sai yin (alias Yu sing) and Tang Sai chiu (alias Kiu lum). In addition to serving as an ancestral hall, the building housed the Tat Tak School from 1931 to 1961. The last maj or renovation of the building probably took place during the Guangxu reign (1875 1908) of the Qing dynasty, as indicated by the engraved characters on the stone tablet above the main entrance. The original structure and features of the building, however, r emain unaffected. Several repairs were undertaken to the Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall and a major renovation was completed in 1995. The Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall was declared a monument in December 2001.



Comprising three halls with two courtyards, the layout and design of the Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall is similar to that of the Tang Ancestral Hall next door.



Embroidered Silk Birthday Hanging (Replica). It is the embroidered silk birthday hanging dated the 11th year of Tongzhi reign of the Qing dynasty (1872) to celebrate the 60th birthday of a lady of the Tang clan. The painted dedicatory inscription was prepared by Mr.Tang Yung kang, an offcial of the Hanlin Yuan (The Royal Academy). It records the life of the lady and her virtue.



Sir Henry Blake, the Govrnor of Hong Kong, went to meet the gentry and elders at Ping Shan in 1899. The birthday hanging was displayed on the wall of Ancestral Hall in the photo of this occasion. The Tang clan has generously donated the embroidered silk birthda y hanging to the Hong Kong Museum of History.



Tang Ancestral Hall and Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall are side by side.





Yan Tun Kong Study Hall



The Yan Tun Kong Study Hall, also known as Yin Yik Tong, is situated in Hang Tau Tsuen. The exact year of its construction cannot be ascertained, but according to the indigenous villagers it was built by the descendants of the Tang Clan of Ping Shan. In addition to its use as a venue for teaching, it also served as an ancestral hall, and it still hosts clan gatherings and festivities, such as the Spring and Autumn rites. The Yan Tun Kong Study Hall was declare d a monument in October 2009.





Kun Ting Study Hall






Situated in Hang Mei Tsuen, the Kun Ting Study Hall was built in 1870 by Tang Heung chuen of the 22nd generation of the Tang Clan in commemoration of his father Tang Kun ting. The study hall provided facilities for both ancestral worship and education. When the British occupied the New Territories in 1899, the study hall was once used as the police station and land office. Despite the abolition of imperial civil service examinations in the early 20th c entury, the study hall continued to provide educational facilities for the clan¡¦s younger generations in
Hang Mei Tsuen and the surrounding areas until the early post Second World War period. The study hall was restored to its original splendour in 1991 th anks to a donation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club.



Ching Shu Hin



Path with title boards





Adjoining the Kun Ting Study Hall and constructed shortly after its completion, Ching Shu Hin served as a guesthouse for prominent visitors and scholars. It originally had no particular name, with Ching Shu Hin in fact referring to a chamber on the ground floor. The restoration of Ching Shu Hin was completed in late 1993 thanks to a donation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club.Ching Shu Hin is a L shaped, two storey building. It is linked to the Kun Ting Study Hall by a very sma ll overhead foot bridge on the first floor. Apart from chambers and a lobby,
the building includes bathrooms and kitchen. In line with its use as a guesthouse, Ching Shu Hin was richly embellished. The whole building was decorated with carved panels, mural s, plaster mouldings, patterned grilles
and carved brackets to demonstrate the grandeur and elegance expected of residences of the local gentry.



Shut Hing Study Hall is inside the residential house.



Outlook of the study hall

Situated at Tong Fong Tsuen, the Shut Hing Study Hall was built by the Tang Clan in the 13th year of the Tongzhi reign (1874) of the Qing dynasty to commemorate the 21st generation of its ancestor Tang Shut hing (1810 1856). It was used for teaching and pr eparing clansmen for examinations and gaining appointments to
positions in government. The lintel of the entrance is engraved with four Chinese characters depicting ¡§Shut Hing Study Hall¡¨. The study hall was left in disrepair after the Second World War. Th e rear hall was demolished in 1977 to avert a dangerous collapse, leaving only the entrance hall. The interior has become residential buildings. This is private property and is not open to the public.







Situated in Hang Mei Tsuen, the Hung Shing Temple is thought to have been built by the Tang Clan in Dinghai(1767) during the Qianlong rei gn of the Qing dynasty (1644 1911), which is the year inscribed on the board inside the temple. The existing structure was rebuilt in the 5th year of the Tongzhi reign (1866) of the Qing dynasty. Substantial renovation work was carried out in 1963. Hung Sh ing is widely worshipped, particularly by _shermen and people whose livelihoods depend largely on the sea. The Hung Shing Festival is held annually on the 13th day of the second lunar month.



Statue of Hung Shing



The itinerary of the Ping Shan Heritage Trail can take about 2 hours if you visit in detail. You can eat at the shopping mall near Tin Shui Wai Station at noon. If you have time in the afternoon, you can go to the nearby Tin Shui Wai Park, which is suitable for parent child fun.

CCT-MAX
05/01/2021

Part of the information comes from the Internet and Antiquities and Monuments Office.

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