Travelogue: Nan Lian Garden, Hongkong

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

GEM AT DIAMOND HILL. On our third Hongkong destination, we went to Nan Lian Garden. I was in awe when we entered the garden's gate! We were greeted by these pretty trees and stunning boulders. Its absolutely picture perfect! The Garden is a place for quiet contemplation, for meditation and repose. In the serenity of its trees and shrubs, there is a quiet vitality in the flirting of birds and the rippling of the water as fishes glide in the pond. A leisurely stroll to this place will give you a rich appreciation of nature.
Nan Lian Garden is a gem at the heart of Diamond Hill in Kowloon. It has an area of 35,000 square meters and was designed and built by the Chi Lin Nunnery, entrusted by the Government. It was opened to the public in November 2006. Nan Lian Garden (南蓮園池) means "Lotus in the South", a description which aptly defines the garden's location in the south of China.

According to their site, the Garden is built in the classical style of the Tang Dynasty (618 AD to 907 AD). It's layout was resembled after the blue print of Jiangshouju Garden (絳守居園池), a garden of the governor the ancient Jiang County (nowadays province of Shanxi in Northern China). The garden too, was divided into 5 parts, namely the Myrtle Hill, Fragrance Hill, Elm Hill, Dragon Hill, and the Pine Hill.
This part is in the Myrtle Hill. That's me and my sister posing at this Chinese structure near the gate. The elements in this garden reflects the profound richness of classical Chinese culture. As we all know, Hongkong is a concrete jungle with its high rise buildings and infrastructure so, It was such a joy to discover this mini oasis right in the midst of the urban city hustle and bustle!

These pretty hills and rocks, waters, plants and timber structures are built and arranged according to classical Tang style and rules. Would you believe that these rocks are not man made? These are actual boulders and rocks carefully transported to the site. It mainly came from the Red River of Xijiang (西江)). These rocks include the petrified wood rock, Sanjiang rock, faience rock, and rocks from the north of Guangdong province and rocks from the local site, totaling about 8,000 tons! WOW! just wow! You could imagine how much sweat, effort and dedication was put into making this garden into realization.
This part is called the Cloud Rocks because of its pinkish and cumulus-like shape. Despite of its massive size, the texture is soft and the lines are light which as if it were a cloud that has drifted in from the sea. The title is inspired by a line from Wang Wei’s poetry.
That's my sister throwing you some kisses from paradise, hihi. Behind her is the highlight element of the garden--- the golden pavilion.
This pavilion is called the Pavilion of Perfection. It has an octagonal shape and is surrounded by a lotus-shaped pond (although not visible in this photo, check-out the map above), a symbol of absolute perfection and fulfillment in all aspects of life, and blessings to all visitors. Such a stunning view right? That orange bridge by the way is called the Wu bridge. It is built, in full timber, in the old traditional way, in bright rainbow red, reminiscent of the ancient Tang style, now lost in modern Chinese architecture. It has actually a twin! Continue reading to discover about it.
Happy kiddo! This place is P-A-R-A-D-I-S-E !! (^-^)
There are 59 types of old trees, totaling more than 3000 trees in the Garden. Buddhist Pine and Black Pine are the major players and there are also other trees of special species including Pagoda Tree, Chinese Elm, Common Crape Myrtle, Sago Palm and penjing plants.
This part is called the Xiang Hai Xuan or Fragrance Hall. It was named from the sea of fragrant trees around it thus, Fragrance Hall. Although when we went here, it was closed because it was under maintenance, HUHU. They say, at the times when orange jasmine and sweet osmanthus flourish and blooms, the area is enveloped in a sea of fragrance!
Like the Jiangshouju Garden in the time of Tang, Nan Lian Garden uses water as its main feature. If rocks form the skeleton of the garden, water is its skin and flesh. The photo above is the Blue Pond with Kois!! 
At the other end of the Blue pond is the Pagoda Tree pavilion. Although it was not accessible when we went there. :( See the photo below for a closer look at this stunning Pavilion.
Olaa from my sistaaah! (^-^)
Peekaboo! Thats the Lunar Reflection Terrace just accross the Blue Pond. Visitors can go there to relax and enjoy the reflections of the buildings on opposite sides.
Another feature at this Garden is the Silver Strand Waterfalls. It's actually also one of the highlights in Nan Lian Garden. Why? That is because behind that waterfalls is a Restaurant---called the Chi Lin Vegetarian restaurant! Although we were not able to enter because it was only now while writing this article and doing some research that i came to know that it is actually a restaurant! HUHU I am sure it feels relaxing inside while dining to the sound of the rushing falls water! 
Across the Chi Lin Restaurant, is another quirky feature--- the Mill! Love the antique vibe on this part. It's picture perfect too!
Our next stop was the Rockery. But before you enter the hall you will see these bonzais! I wonder how old they are.
Inside the Rockery are these unbelievable collections of rocks and boulders! Mind you, though they looked shiny, it's not polished! That is its natural state. It looked like a well-polished furniture. Can I have this as a table in my house please?? (^-^)
Meet the hard-headed girls! HAHA! You see, it is not allowed to sit on those rocks but we still did! Aaaah crazy girls! Don't worry, were not really that rule violators. It's just that we were informed late! (-.-) so sorry!
After the Rockery, you could see another side of the Pavilion of Perfection. In here, if you are observant, the orange bridge is much higher that the other side. They are actually twin bridges. The other one which I mentioned earlier is called the Wu bridge. "Wu" signifies noon time and the orientation south. While the other one (the one in the photo above) is called the Zi Bridge which signifies the first hour and the north orientation. It stands in a full arch, dropping its shadow in the water in a full rainbow. Six pairs of miniature decorative bronze lions sit on the top of its six sets of balusters, looking inwards minding or watching outwards guarding, in a posture timeless, like those in ancient times.
The area is quite huge but don't worry, you won't get lost I promise! That's my sister right there searching through their electronic map. It showcases information too about the garden. (^-^)
This is how the entire garden looks like from above. The design of the garden is an attempt to re-create, not to just copy an antique style, but also to publicize and promote some of the best features of Chinese culture. Notice those fences in green surrounding the garden's perimeter? I have read that those are 260 pieces of sound proof panels to maintain a peaceful and quiet environment! How functional and innovative that design is!
It was almost sun down already when we finally covered the whole garden so when we went out, we were all hungry! So we went to a mall near that area and get some food. Along the way, I saw this modern building. Love the architecture on this one. Simple lines, geometry and glass elements were used giving it a sleek, and minimalist design. My aunt told me it's a school--not really sure though.
Happy tum tum!! We ate at Pepper Rice where in you could make your own menu. We tried some chinese foods too. Yummeh!
It was a tiring but fun-filled day! This a much needed meal is for today! My plate says hello!  (^-^) I hope you guys enjoyed our tour at the Nan Lian Garden. Thanks for joining me. On the succeeding posts, come join me to another journey and adventure in Hongkong. Don't forget to come back! *wink!

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1 sweet comments

  1. I really enjoying your post, feels like I join your trip! hehehe..what a lovely garden, and your meal is very mouth watering :-D