Part One of Hong Kong Urban Pilgrimage covers mainly temples and churches. In Part Two, there are more worshipping places for the living. But there are also resting places for the dead that belong to six different religions, all in Happy Valley. Except the Jewish Cemetery, the other five are situated in a stretch of land on the west side of the Jockey Club racecourse.
Riding the tram is the idyllic way to begin this part of the Urban Pilgrimage. If it is a continuation of Part One, walk from Zoroastrian Building to the Percival St. tram stop. Otherwise, take the Happy Valley tram from Central/ Wanchai or from North Point/Causeway Bay. It is a one-way journey to the final stop.
Jewish Cemetery was built in 1855. The entrance gate is located away from the street and is sandwiched between Tong Lin Kok Yuen Buddhist Nunnery and the school it operates. A footbridge links the two buildings and hangs right above the path to the Cemetery. East really crosses path with West here.
In the cemetery, there is a small chapel and 301 graves. One prominent name to be found is ‘Kadoorie’. The Kadoorie family owns The China Light & Power, Peninsula Hotel and also The Kadoorie Farm. The latter is a charity that has been helping local farmers and Hong Kong-based Gurkha soldiers since 1951.
Tung Lin Kok Yuen Nunnery and Po Kok School for Girls were built in 1935 by Lady Clara Cheng Lin Kok, the second wife of Sir Robert Hotung. She used the money given by her husband at their 50th wedding anniversary to fulfill her dream. This was to propagate Buddhism and educate under-privileged women. The Nunnery has been classified as a Grade 1 Historical Building.
The Temple was built on the edge of a piece of land allocated as the site of the Hindu Cemetery. There are only a small number of interments to be found as Hindus cremate their dead. Among these are graves of children who died young, at the request of their parents.
The Hong Kong Cemetery, also known as the Colonial Cemetery, was established in 1844. There are 12,100 mainly Christian interments including military personnel.
The St. Michael Catholic Cemetery was moved from the previous Wanchai site to the present location in 1848. There are about 23,000 graves.
The Muslim Cemetery includes civilian burials as well as Commonwealth burials of the First and Second World War.
The antithesis of one local secular faith – Property Investment, is included in Part One of Hong Kong Urban Pilgrimage. Now, you can visit the premises of the other popular secular faith, Horse Racing. Every week, except during summer holidays, at the Happy Valley (or the Shatin) racecourse, ardent believers will gather to satisfy their betting desire for instant fortune. In addition, there are 105 Off-course Betting Branches all over the territory.
To have a feel of the popular ritual, there is no need to join the races. The Moon Koon Restaurant of the Hong Kong Jockey commands a panoramic view of the racecourse. It offers dim sum and Cantonese cuisine. To go to the restaurant and the Racing Museum in the same building, take the underground passage in front of the Cosmopolitan Hotel next to the Muslim Cemetery.
To reach to the Masjid Ammar and Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre, cross the road to the other side of Queen’s Road East. Walk down a flight of stairs, go straight along Oi Kwan Rd. and then turn right. The Mosque and Centre was open in 1981. There are a total of five mosques in Hong Kong serving over 80,000 Muslims (half are Chinese) and 100,000 Indonesian migrant domestic workers.