Man Mo Temple

Built in the 1840s, Man Mo Temple is the oldest and most important temple on Hong Kong Island. It is located at the intersection of Hollywood Road and Ladder Street.

The temple is named after the two principal deities it was built as a house of worship for: Man, the god of literature, who is dressed in red and holds a calligraphy brush; and Mo, the god of war, wearing a green robe and holding a sword.

Man Mo Temple Man Mo Temple
The gate of Man Mo Temple The building inside Man Mo Temple

What makes this evocative temple particularly memorable are the giant incense coils hanging from the ceiling, imparting a fragrant, smoky haze - these are purchased by patrons seeking fulfillment of their wishes, such as good health or a successful business deal, and can burn as long as three weeks. Some also believe the incense is food for the gods or spirits.

The temple was built at the beginning of the British colonial rule, and it is said that during the 1900s locals came here to solve disputes that could not be solved by British law. The process of finding an equitable solution came down like this: both plaintiff and defendant should make a promise in the temple and write it C along with a curse or punishment - on a piece of yellow paper. It was believed that because the promise was made before the gods, if the individual broke the promise they would suffer the indicated punishment. Many Chinese at that time preferred this justice system to the British system.

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