Temple architecture

Fight to rename the temple after Gurkhas

Stacy Shi

Queen’s Hill Hindu Temple should be renamed “Gurkha Temple” as history shows that no Indian soldier guarded the historic Tier III building at Fan Ling in the past, an architect has said.

Amid a lack of information about the temple’s history, volunteer conservationists collected data and compiled the first comprehensive conservation report for the hexagonal building.

They first discovered from the early building plans that the six triangular stone structures on the ground, which are an integral part of the temple building, were once pools filled with water.

They believe the temple’s unique three-pointed octagonal design was inspired by the lotus flower, said Caspar Yam Ming-ho, a conservation architect.

According to a fairy tale, Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, was once a great lake. One day, many gods appeared with a lotus in the lake, marking the beginning of Kathmandu’s development.

Yam said that some Gurkhas – Nepali mercenaries – are stationed in Hong Kong and many of them are aware of this classic tale, which matches the lotus design of the ancient temple.

“Since the temple was used by the Gurkhas, it is natural to use legends or myths related to Nepal to build it. Although this is speculation, we believe it is reasonable and reflects the lack of Indian elements in the temple,” Yam said.

Yam said there is only a general description that the temple is related to Gurkha history, while the name used in official documents and even the plaque outside the temple is “Temple Hindu”. But he said the conservationists’ report said history showed Indian soldiers had never been stationed there.

He said it was necessary to change the name because although the soldiers at the former military camp near the temple believed in Hinduism, the people who actually used the temple were all Gurkha soldiers from Nepal.

Yam said that if they continue to use the name “Hindu temple”, it may cause unnecessary misunderstandings, and the use of “Gurkha temple” also pays homage to the history of the garrison. The Office of Antiquities and Monuments is reportedly considering changing the name to better reflect the history of the garrison.

Yam also suggested that the government make good use of the historic building and not allow it to be abandoned for a long time as the Queen’s Hill social housing complex has been gradually taken over and moved closer to residential areas.

He also noticed four empty barracks near the temple. Since their utility ratio is not high, Yam said, he proposed that the two groups of historic buildings be included in the historic building revitalization program through a partnership and operated by the same organization. non-profit organization in order to preserve their historic atmosphere.