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Hong Kong: Ancestral Hall in Sheung Shui Dates Back to the Ming Dynasty

Heritage

The Hau Ku Shek Ancestral Hall is located in a village on the outskirts of Sheung Shui. It is an important heritage site that dates back to the Ming Dynasty, when the village was first settled.

Hong kong north district ho sheung heung (98)

Hau Ku Shek Ancestral Hall in Ho Sheung Heung, Sheung Shui, New Territories, Hong Kong. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

The Hau Ku Shek Ancestral Hall is located in the village of Ho Sheung Heung. It is one of 3 important heritage sites in the village, which was settled by the Hau Clan more than 600 years ago.

Dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644), the Hau Ku Shek Ancestral Hall was in a sad state of disrepair when I moved to the New Territories in 1997.

I always wished it could be spruced up a bit, and my wish came true 4 years later. Bamboo scaffolding was erected and surrounded the gray brick structure for several weeks – or was it months? – in 2001.

Has it really been 15 years?

When the scaffolding came down, the hall had been given a new lease on life. Broken tiles and bricks had been replaced, the wooden doors at the entrance had been beautifully repainted, and woodcarvings, plaster mouldings, tablet, couplets, and other features had been restored.

Initially the bright red paint almost seemed too gaudy, a bit like an elderly old lady wearing a bit too much makeup.

Antiquities and Monuments

Fifteen years later, it looks just right. It is also being very well maintained by the Hong Kong Antiquities and Monuments Office. An officer is on duty to answer questions.

The Hau Ku Shek Ancestral Hall is a traditional 3 hall, 2 storey structure. There is a small courtyard open to the sky at the middle, with chambers on either side. There is also a kitchen, a side room, and an altar.

While the purpose of an ancestral hall is to carry out ancestor worship and other important ceremonies, I don’t remember ever seeing any such ceremonies during the nearly 2 decades that I have lived in the New Territories. Maybe I just haven’t been lucky.

The Hau Ku Shek Ancestral Hall was declared a monument in 2003. It is one of countless ancestral halls dotting the New Territories of Hong Kong.

Inside the Hau Ku Shek Ancestral Hall

Hong kong north district ho sheung heung (125)

Hong kong north district ho sheung heung (117)

Hong kong north district ho sheung heung (124)

Interior of he Hau Ku Shek Ancestral Hall in Ho Sheung Heung, Sheung Shui, New Territories, Hong Kong. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
 

Where

Hau Ku Shek Ancestral Hall, Ho Sheung Heung, Sheung, Shui, New Territories Hong Kong.

When

The Hau Ku Shek Ancestral Hall is open Wednesday through Monday from 9 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm. It is closed on Tuesdays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, and the first 3 days of the Lunar New Year.

How to Get There

Take the 51K green mini bus from the Sheung Shui Mini Bus Station (between the Sheung Shui MTR station on the East Rail line and the Landmark North shopping mall) to Sheung Shui.

The ride takes 15 to 20 minutes. Alternate mini buses terminate at the hall or continue on to the Lowu Correctional Institution.

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Talking Points

What do you think of the Hong Kong government’s attempts to protect the city’s heritage?

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